Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Small Cell Forum Release 4 Improves HetNet Integration

The Small Cell Forum announced the launch of Release Four aimed at overcoming barriers associated with urban small cells.

Release Four covers a range of issues that may concern an operator wishing to deploy urban small cells. There is a particular focus on learnings from market leading early deployments in North America and Asia across airports, theme parks, sporting venues, subways and at street level.

Release Four identifies operators’ main barriers and looks at solutions in the different disciplines of network architecture, radio access, backhaul, deployment, regulatory and services and security. The release also reports progress on cross industry activities to strengthen the ecosystem through multivendor interoperability.

Release Four also sees updates to the location services enabled by small cells, allowing venues or businesses to track the flow of people and potentially target messages or offers through data stored on the small cell.

Small Cell Forum and partner ETSI’s ongoing roadmap of Plugfest interoperability events is shown to play a key role in both debugging vendor implementations as well as driving resolution of standards ambiguities and gaps. Within the release, current standards for multivendor HetNets are reviewed, demonstrating that whilst basic multivendor HetNets are currently possible, further X2 standardization effort would enhance their performance.  There is also an overview of the security issues for small cells, and the standards in place to address them.

"This Release is the outcome of a very fruitful collaboration between the operator and vendor communities to harness the significant potential of the urban small cell market,” said Gordon Mansfield, Chair of the Small Cell Forum.

"Today small cells are an essential part of urban networks and Release Three started to address many of the challenges and perceived barriers to deployment faced by operators and network managers," said Sue Monahan, CEO at the Small Cell Forum. "What we’re announcing today is the final piece of the puzzle and shows how small cells are already delivering capacity and coverage for operators and subscribers around the world as part of multi-faceted urban networks."