Monday, January 2, 2012

SK Telecom Develops LTE + Wi-Fi Femtocell

South Korea-based SK Telecom has developed its own Wi-Fi Integrated LTE Femtocell to spur its 4G rollout.

The ultra-mini base station improves indoor coverage using both Wi-Fi and LTE, while significantly reduce equipment installation and operating cost. SK Telecom uses POE (Power over Ethernet) to ease installation. The company said its design also minimizes interference between the frequencies within the cellular bands.

SK Telecom plans to build LTE networks in 84 cities across the country by April 2012, eight months ahead of schedule, after which it will utilize Wi-Fi Integrated Femtocells to boost its service quality.

The carrier plans to deploy its Wi-Fi Integrated LTE Femtocells in densely populated regions, focusing primarily on central commercial areas of major cities where LTE traffic and users are concentrated, and then be expanded to areas with high data demand – i.e. indoor areas like shopping centers, offices, houses, and school, etc.

Kang Jong-Ryeol, Head of Network Technology Center of SK Telecom said, "SK Telecom has already installed over one million repeaters to expand LTE coverage including indoors and underground areas and will continue to enhance its LTE service quality by installing Wi-Fi Integrated LTE Femtocells. Furthermore, SK Telecom will keep on developing and providing femtocell technologies suitable for many different environments so as to create an optimal data communication environment for customers."

  • In November 2011, SK Telecom announced an LTE Smart Cloud Access Network (SCAN) pilot deployment. SCAN separates digital signal processing from the base stations and concentrates it in one place, allowing the network to respond to traffic demands in certain locations. Additional antenna radio units can be deployed at a lower cost instead of a full base station. The smart cloud base stations also cooperate with each other to reduce interference, especially in border areas in the network.

  • SK Telecom inaugurated its 4G LTE service in Seoul on July 1, 2011. The network provides a maximum downlink speed of 75Mbps, which is five times faster than that of its 3G WCDMA network (HSUPA) and 1.9 times faster than Wibro that provides maximum downlink speed of 39.8Mbps and maximum uplink speed of 10Mbps. The network uses the 800 MHz band. The company plans to expand the frequency bandwidth for LTE from one-way 5MHz (at the time of service launch) to 10MHz by the fourth quarter of 2011 to achieve the full downlink potential.

    The LTE rollout in Seoul was accomplished by building 1,772 Radio Units (RU) and 609 Digital Units (DU). In addition to this, the company will also use its 200,000 existing 800MHz repeaters to offer seamless and flawless 4G LTE service in all areas of Seoul, including underground and indoor areas.

  • In January 2011, South Korea's SK Telecom announced the selection of Samsung Electronics, LG-Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as key equipment suppliers for its LTE network.