What Are 5G Small Cells and Why the Interest Now?

5G Small Cell Market

5G Small Cell Market

Small cell 5G networks are low-power cellular radio access modules that operate in spectrum ranging from 10 meters to several kilometers. Rising investments by governments and key players in various IT projects such as 5G infrastructure will aid the market growth.

Small cells increase the coverage and capacity of telecommunications networks in densely populated urban areas by bridging coverage gaps and increasing bandwidth that macro cells cannot sustain on their own. This is especially important in the era of increased mobile data usage, smart cities and the Internet of Things.

Small cells are an important driver of 5G communications. Not only will network operators use the low-band and mid-band spectrum that existing cellular networks rely on; in order to deploy 5G, they will also have to use high-band spectrum. This spectrum only transmits over short distances (as opposed to longer distances covered by lower frequencies), requiring network operators to have a denser collection of access points.

Small cells are capable of transmitting high data rates over distances of 10 meters to 2 kilometers, whether indoors or outdoors. This is important because macro antennas sometimes struggle to provide coverage indoors, and small cells are ideal for use in places where macro antennas cannot. Small cells can serve stadiums, university campuses, and exhibition halls well.

Traditional macro antennas can cover large areas. While a single tower can technically have a range of up to 20 miles, the wireless signal connecting the tower to the end user can only carry so much data at a time. The more connections in the network, the more data is transferred, so everyone’s connection gets slower. In urban centers or sports fields, it’s not uncommon for bars on smartphones to be well-stocked but temporarily unable to make calls or download data.

Small cell nodes can be deployed multiple times within the area covered by the macro antenna. Each node can carry the same amount of data as a tower, but since there will be many more small cell sites in the same geographic area, any small cell node is less likely to be overwhelmed with data.

The most important aspect of our modern cloud-based IoT-centric society is the infrastructure needed to sustain it. With all the wireless wonders that abound today, they rely on a lot of wiring behind the wall panels. As we know and expect, building, managing, and maintaining wireless infrastructure is critical to the continued operation of the IoT.

The development and deployment of this infrastructure is multi-layered and multi-faceted. Modern RF Airways are highways in the sky, relying on proper lane and traffic management to prevent total chaos. In 5G infrastructure, small cells are critical as they provide greater coverage and a consistent 5G user experience while maintaining high data rates and low latency.

5G test solutions provider LitePoint and Qualcomm Technologies sign agreement to enable LitePoint to develop 5G test solutions for Qualcomm 5G to address the emerging 5G small cell market and enterprise 5G deployments in urban outdoor and indoor locations to accelerate small cell RAN platforms

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