Nokia Solutions and Networks introduced their new Flexi Zone LTE microcell and picocell base stations that NSN claims to have the same features and capacity as macro base stations. This technology is critical when it comes to integration into high-capacity Heterogeneous Networks. Experts defines the HetNet as a network with complex interoperation between macrocell, small cell, and in some cases WiFi network elements used together to provide a mosaic of coverage, with handoff capability between network elements.
For this technology to complement the base stations, NSN is working to enhance its expert Services for HetNets with the use of a new multi-layer hot spot analysis and planning tool, which will help operators match their network deployments to business objectives.
Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst for Network Infrastructure at Ovum notes: “One of the reasons for reality of small cell uptake not matching early overhyped expectations can be attributed to the fact that maturity of the product offerings had not met operator expectations. Software and feature parity between macro and micro/pico cells is one of the critical steps needed in the small cell market maturation. It will help create tighter integration between the two network layers, which can lead to improved HetNet performance. Along with integration, mobile operators need to have a strategy with how to manage their small cell networks as they scale and traffic hotspots expand.”
NSN explains that these new all-in-one base stations will be available in early 2014 and that their macro-level processing power comes from an innovative custom System on a Chip that allows the new base stations to run the same software as NSN’s macro base stations.
“This makes it easy to integrate them into complex HetNets and drastically simplifies software upgrades across the network so that the same features are available everywhere at the same time. Operators will benefit from all the macrocell features, such as easy software upgrade to LTE-Advanced, full support of NSN’s NetAct Operations Support System (OSS), intelligent Self-Organizing Networks (iSON) automation as well as the industry-acclaimed Smart Scheduler and interference mitigation for superior subscriber performance in dense urban areas.,” NSN explains.
Small cells have been a great addition to networks to increase network capacity in buildings and stadiums. Currently, small cells cannot exist without their macro cell counterparts because the small cells can’t handle large enough capacity.
“Small cells have conventionally been cut down versions of macro base stations with reduced performance. In contrast, Flexi Zone microcell and picocell base stations use the latest System on a Chip technologies to deliver the same processing power as a macro base station. As traffic demand rises, they can be upgraded to a full Flexi Zone deployment to build seamless multi-layer, high-density, future-proof HetNets,” said Randy Cox, head of Small Cells product management at NSN.