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Strategies for Small Cell Network Deployments for 4G and Beyond


November 2013




Single-user License: $ 1,995 USD
Company-wide License: $ 4,995 USD
Team License (Up to 5 Users): $ 2,995 USD


Small Cells, Small Cell Planning, Small Cell Operation, Femtocells, Picocells, Microcells, Metrocells, HetNet, Small Cells as a Service, SCaaS, Heterogeneous Networks, Femtocells as a Service, FaaS, Self Organizing Networks, SON


Current smart phone usage trends indicate that there will be a huge increase in global mobile user traffic. In the next five years alone, the mobile user traffic is expected to reach 11.2 Exabyte per month. Small Cells and Small Cell Networks are expected to play a pivotal role in addressing the capacity needs for such a traffic surge in the mobile networks.

Small Cells and Carrier WiFi are important factors for the success of an LTE deployment and public areas will be the key drivers for the small-cell market. Small cells are typically used to provide in-building and outdoor wireless coverage and capacity. Estimates suggest that with small cells, mobile operators can offload almost 80% of traffic during peak times.

The name "small" should not fool anyone, as the planning stage of Small Cell deployment can often take almost as long as macro cell planning. The choice of Small Cell technology is driven by many factors including type of solution (consumer, enterprise, public area, rural area), usage patterns, and more. There are many other considerations after deployment as well including proper timing for implementation of optimization technologies such as Self-organizing Network (SON) solutions.

This report provides a fundamental technical understanding of the Small Cell operation as well as the business drivers for deployment from a mobile network operator's perspective. The report evaluates the current state of the industry Small Cell deployment in 3G and LTE and presents a vision for anticipated future of Small Cells beyond 4G. This is the only report of its type that provides specific and critical insights and information needed for Small Cell design and strategic planning.

See Table of Contents for complete list of areas covered.

Report Benefits

  • Market forecast for carrier WiFi and Small Cells 2013-2018
  • Understand market status and identify anticipated future trends
  • Understand technical aspects of Small Cell deployment strategies
  • Understand operational issues associated with deploying and operating Small Cells
  • Identify early research work being performed by vendors for potential 5G technologies
  • Understand the role and importance of optimization technologies including Self-organizing Network (SON)
  • Identify specific vendor products, solutions and product features to support a successful Small Cell deployment

Target Audience

  • Mobile network operators
  • Wireless device manufacturers
  • Network integration companies
  • Wireless infrastructure providers
  • Managed telecommunication service providers
  • Cloud-based hosting and virtualization providers
  • Anyone who needs to understand the future of wireless networks

Companies in Report

Actix, AirHop, Alcatel-Lucent, Arieso, AT&T, Boingo, Cambridge Broadband Network, Cisco, Ericsson, Green Packet, InfoVista, Intucell, NSN, NTT Docomo, Qualcomm, Reverb Networks, Ruckus Wireless, Samsung

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Technology Overview
  • Business Case
  • Vendor Solutions
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Cisco
  • Ericsson
  • Nokia Solutions & Networks
  • Ruckus Wireless
  • Small Cells Current Market Status and Future Trends
  • Strategies and Business Model for Small Cell Deployments
  • Network Planning and Dimensioning
  • Small Cell AP Type
  • Auto Configuration and SON
  • Interference Management
  • Seamless Mobility
  • Authentication and Security
  • Backhaul Solution
  • Upgradeability
  • Target Site Selection
  • Requirements Specification and Procurement
  • CaPEX, OpEX and TCO
  • Revenue Generation and ROI
  • Global Small Cell Forecasts
  • Global Small Cell Unit Shipments (Overall)
  • Global Small Cell Revenue
  • Global Small Cell Unit Shipments (by Type)
  • Global Small Cell Revenue (by Type)
  • Global Small Cell Unit Shipments (3G vs 4G)
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Abbreviations
  • Bibliography

List of Graphs

  • Figure 1: Cisco SP Wi-Fi Small Cell Solution Architecture
  • Figure 2: Cisco Licensed Small Solution Architecture
  • Figure 3: Mobile Market Trends
  • Figure 4: Femtocell Appeal for Households versus Wi-Fi
  • Figure 5: Small Cell Unit Shipments: 2013-2018
  • Figure 6: Small Cell Revenues: 2013-2018
  • Figure 7: Small Cell Unit Shipments by Cell Type: 2013-2018
  • Figure 8: Small Cell Revenues by Cell Type: 2013-2018
  • Figure 9: Small Cell Unit Shipments by Technology: 2013-2018

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Small Cell Categories and Market Segments
  • Table 2: Strategy Focus Areas for Technical Aspects
  • Table 3: List of Fundamental SON Capabilities
  • Table 4: Strategic Requirements and Business Drivers for SON
  • Table 5: Types of SON Architectures
  • Table 6: SON Vendors, Products and Solutions
  • Table 7: Different Types of Small Cell Interference
  • Table 8: Interference Management Capabilities for Small Cells
  • Table 9: Small Cell Mobility Feature Requirements
  • Table 10: Solutions to Consider for Seamless Mobility Support in Small Cells
  • Table 11: Vendor Solutions for Seamless Mobility
  • Table 12: Authentication and Security Requirement for Small Cells
  • Table 13: Security Solutions for Small Cell Networks
  • Table 14: Backhaul Feature Requirements
  • Table 15: Backhaul Solution Requirements and Options for Small Cell (34)
  • Table 16: Strategy Focus Areas for Business Aspects
  • Table 17: Strategy Steps for Selection of Target Site Location
  • Table 18: Key Areas of Focus for Requirements Specification and Procurement Plan
  • Table 19: Strategies for Revenue Generation and Positive ROI for Small Cells
  • Table 20: VAS Solution Options for Small Cells