What is a Small Cell:
Small cells are low-powered radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10 meters to 1 or 2 kilometers. They are "small" compared to a mobile macrocell, which may have a range of a few tens of kilometers. With mobile operators struggling to support the growth in mobile data traffic, many are using Mobile data offloading as a more efficient use of radio spectrum. Small cells are a vital element to 3G data offloading, and many mobile network operators see small cells as vital to managing LTE Advanced spectrum more efficiently compared to using just macrocells.
Types of Small Cell:
There are four types of small cells i.e. femtocells, picocells, microcells and metrocells – broadly increasing in size from femtocells (the smallest) to metrocells (the largest). All the small cells are based on the femtocell technology.
Advantage of Small Cell
- Using femtocells solves residential challenges with a device that employs power and backhaul via the user’s existing resources. It also enables capacity equivalent to a full 3G network sector at very low transmit powers, dramatically increasing battery life of existing phones, without needing to introduce WiFi enabled handsets.
- Small cells also make sense in many enterprise contexts, providing a simpler, low-cost alternative to traditional in-building solutions. Enterprise femtocells enable business users to take advantage of high-quality mobile services in the office, while improving coverage, accelerating data rates and significantly reducing capital costs.
- Due to their low cost and easy deployment, small cells are also a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional macro networks in remote rural areas with little or no terrestrial network infrastructure . Likewise in metro hotspots, operators can deploy small cells to improve local coverage, increase capacity and offload macro network traffic.