Current Situation and Prospect of SmallCell Development
Abstract: According to the forecast, by 2015, the wireless data traffic will exceed the wired data traffic. The deployment of smallcell can meet the requirements of customers on communication quality and operators on operating costs. Huge data services. The purpose of installing smallcell is to provide more and more people with good network services and enough bandwidth to enjoy innovative mobile Internet services. This paper introduces the development prospect and technology development trend of smallcell in detail.
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Key words: SmallCell; home base station; Wi-Fi; convergence; SON technology
CLC number: TP393 Document identification code: A Article number: 1674-7712 (2012) 20-0004-01
SmallCell originated from Femtocell (commonly known as "home base station") originally designed for home scenarios. SmallCell's "small" is relative to traditional macro base stations (Macrocell). Low transmit power, good controllability, intelligence and flexible networking. From the perspective of transmit power, the typical transmit power is between 100mW and 5W; from the perspective of weight, the general weight is between 2 and 10kg; from the perspective of networking mode, it supports a variety of technologies including DSL/fiber/WLAN and cellular technology It also has SON functions such as automatic neighbor discovery and self-configuration.
1. Application of SmallCell
Since Sprint was the first to deploy Femtocells in the world in September 2007, SmallCells have been successfully deployed in 41 networks in 23 countries. Currently, more than 3.8 million units have been deployed globally, mainly in the form of Femtocells (80%). From the perspective of regional distribution, it is mainly distributed in the United States (Sprint deploys more than 900,000 units and AT&T deploys about 500,000 units), Europe and Japan and South Korea (Japan Softbank deploys 120,000 units).
Judging from the situation of the three major domestic operators, China Unicom launched the "3G Station" brand as early as 2009, providing Femto home base stations based on WCDMA, serving the ten northern provinces; China Mobile in February 2012 in Jiangsu Officially started the commercial allocation of TD-SCDMA Femto femtocells. As of September 2012, the number of actual installations in Suzhou area exceeded 20,000.
And in order to solve the problem of high-frequency network wear and tear faced by many LTE networks in the future, SmallCell has become the best choice for operators, and SmallCell is already on the eve of explosive development.
2. The future development prospect of SmallCell
(1) SmallCell Market Distribution Forecast
The Chinese market has attracted the attention of the SmallCell industry chain, which reflects that the industry is unanimously optimistic about the development of TD-LTE in China in the next two years. As the Chinese government officially announced that all 190MHz of the 2.6GHz frequency band will be reserved for TD-LTE, the demand for LTE Small Cell in the Chinese market is even more urgent.
(2) SmallCell Market Scale Forecast
In a research report released in July 2012 by the consulting firm Dell’Oro, it predicted that the SmallCell market will grow rapidly in the next five years. Excluding the home Femto market, SmallCell's share of global RAN investment will rise from 3% to 9% by 2016. The current SmallCell is mainly used to supplement blindness, and in the future, it will be used more for heat supplementation. Dell'Oro expects SmallCell's global revenue in 2012 to be approximately $1.14 billion, and by 2016 SmallCell's global revenue will reach $3.42 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 30%. Among them, the performance of LTE SmallCell is particularly outstanding. The estimated market revenue in 2012 is only 30 million US dollars, accounting for less than 5% of the entire SmallCell market revenue; by 2016, its market revenue will reach 1.8 billion US dollars, accounting for the entire SmallCell market revenue. 53%. The research from Infonetics, a consulting agency, shows that: 4GSmallCell's shipments will account for 37% in 2013, and 3GSmallCell's will account for 63%; by 2015, 4GSmallCell's shipments will exceed 3G for the first time; by 2016, SmallCell's overall shipments It will reach 3 million, and the market size will reach 2.1 billion US dollars. This is basically consistent with Dell'Oro's research and analysis results.
(3) LTE SmallCell Market Scale Forecast
Entering the LTE era, because the LTE frequency bands in various countries around the world are very scattered, including 2.6GHz, 2.3GHz, 2.1GHz, 1.8GHz, 1.5GHz, 800MHz, 700MHz, etc. According to the statistics of 50 operators that have published frequency plans, 62% of LTE networks will be deployed in the 2.1GHz or higher frequency band, while 41% of these networks will be in the 2.6GHz or higher frequency band. It is well known that high-band coverage performance is at a disadvantage, and 80% of future data services will take place indoors. Only relying on macrocellular networks cannot effectively cover hotspots and indoors. Therefore, SmallCell is very important for the construction of LTE networks.
A report pointed out that even if the home Femtocell market is not included, by 2016, the market size of LTE-TDDSmallCell will reach US$700 million, while the market size of LTE-FDDSmallCell will reach US$1.1 billion.
3. Development Trend of SmallCell Technology
(1) Integration with Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is the general name of the IEEE802.11 standard, which comes from another organization IEEE that can keep pace with 3GPP, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and subsequent 802.11ac/ad, etc. WiFiAPs currently on the market and terminals have already supported the 802.11n standard and are backward compatible. The working frequency band of Wi-Fi is 2.4GHz or 5GHz, which is a frequency band that does not require government authorization. Compared with 3GPP cellular technology, Wi-Fi networking is more flexible, but it also brings the problem of uncontrollable interference. Heavyweight chip manufacturers such as Broadcom, Qualcomm and Mavell have successively released chips that support 802.11ac this year, with a maximum support rate of 1.3Gbps, which is not inferior to LTE cellular networks.
(2) Collaboration between network and terminal
In the era of mobile internet, new terminals and services are emerging one after another. How to ensure the QoE of different terminals, services, and states is a challenge for operators. The existing mobile network does not know enough about the user's information, which also makes it impossible to realize a better resource scheduling and guarantee system. As the processing power of smartphones becomes more and more powerful, we expect the collaboration between the SmallCell network and the terminal will be the technical trend of future development. The purpose of signaling overhead and saving terminal energy consumption.
(3) Manageable and controllable business localization
More and more mobile data services are presented as multi-user interactive services, such as community networks, Weibo, and video sharing. In this case, if all the data traffic of the SmallCell has to be transmitted back to the core network, it will inevitably bring additional delay and transmission overhead. We expect that SmallCell will introduce a service localization architecture in the future. According to business attributes, user location and other decisions, services suitable for localization will be directly channeled in the access network through small cells, supporting the same base station or between adjacent base stations. direct communication, thereby greatly saving transmission resources and reducing end-to-end communication delay.
(4) SON technology
Because a large number of SmallCell base stations are not located at the operator's site like traditional macro base stations, in order to reduce installation and maintenance costs, SON technology is an indispensable part of SmallCell. SON not only includes automatic physical cell ID configuration, automatic neighbor relationship acquisition, inter-cell interference coordination, etc., but also should have automatic IP connection, automatic software upgrade, automatic adjustment of transmit power, etc. The major challenges faced by SmallCell, such as macro-micro coordination and interference control, all involve SON. Although the current implementation of SON is imperfect and the mechanism of SON is very complicated, we expect that SON technology will still be one of the most important technology development trends for SmallCell in the future until other alternative technologies emerge.
[Author's brief introduction] Chen Ning (1978.9-), male, Shijiazhuang Information Engineering Vocational College, lecturer, director of the communication teaching and research section, master of engineering, mobile communication network planning and design.