Outdoor Rural Small Cells
Why do operators need public access small cell solutions?
Mobile operators face increasing customer demand to provide mobile coverage in rural and remote locations. For developing and developed markets the challenge is to provide rural coverage at an affordable cost, but which makes business sense to deploy. In the majority of countries, coverage is still far from universal, even those that have well-developed networks. In more mature markets, in addition to basic voice coverage, there is now an expectation of mobile data to serve the growing population of smartphones and tablets.
The challenge for rural coverage is cost-effectiveness, and in particular the costs of site acquisition, backhaul, power and equipment. Rural cells tend to be deployed to give as large a coverage area as possible, and a high proportion of users find themselves with relatively poor signal levels and, therefore, have a substandard data services.
Small cell solutions have some advantages where they can be used to complement macro networks. They can be used to extend the overall coverage, either for pockets of population or along highways and railways; or they could be used to provide localised data capacity in locations where it would otherwise not be cost-effective. The small cells themselves are compact devices with low-power consumption, and are installed on existing street furniture or even on residential property, without the need for costly dedicated sites.
Ubiquisys rural small cell solution is proven to significantly reduce all of these costs. For backhaul, we use commodity broadband such as DSL, or even low-cost satellite – used extensively in our deployments with SoftBank in Japan:
- Field-proven – for reliable high coverage in outdoor rural locations.
- Small cell coverage up to 3km – 16 voice calls, 14.4Mbps HSPA, up to 1W.
- Flexible siting – multiple backhaul options.
- Provide a high-capacity solution close to the point of use, to match local concentrations of demand.
- Lifecycle management – providing operators complete control of the supply chain, assuring in-service reliability, preserving infrastructure independence and providing a platform for delivering new services.
Ubiquisys Solution Capabilities
ActiveRadio™ Radio Resource Management
Ubiquisys has developed unique radio resource algorithms, which mean that the unit(s) explore the radio environment to optimise the service provided to the user, while at the same time minimising any possible disruption to the external macro network. These algorithms also enable full plug-and-play for the operator, by providing the ability to activate and upgrade Small Cells remotely without affecting service.
Provisioning and automatic setup. Small Cells are pre-provisioned with basic configuration parameters so they know who they are and who they belong to. Once plugged in, operator policies are downloaded and the Small Cells simply adjust the radio configuration according to local conditions, within these policies. They are then automatically activated in a matter of minutes.
Listen Mode, UL/DL Power Setting. The Small Cell contains a downlink Listen Mode, which measures the interference levels of surrounding macro and Small Cell cells. Using Listen Mode, the Small Cell can select the settings for optimal performance for users of the Small Cell while minimising the interference to the macro according to the operator’s policies, or can be configured by the network operator.
Once installed, the Ubiquisys Small Cell – uniquely – can be configured to continue to monitor the radio environment and adapts to any changes it encounters.
- Dynamic Code and Downlink Power Reallocation. The Small Cell supports downlink power reallocation between individual data channels or between data channels and HSDPA. This means that the Small Cell responds to external interference, optimising the user experience.
- Downlink Power Adaptation. The Small Cell initially sets its power levels based on the received signal levels it experiences from the macro network, in order to minimise uplink interference, including adjacent channel interference mitigation. These values are then dynamically altered according to the actual levels reported by the end user device through measurement reports.
- Continuous Fast Sniff. The Small Cell uniquely uses an active sniff mode during normal operation to monitor changes in the radio environment, without affecting calls. When there are significant changes to the radio environment – eg, the addition/removal of a neighbouring cell – the Small Cell will adapt its power levels accordingly.
- Power Tuning. In order to ensure that a hotspot cell is attracting the right level of load, or if the load increases and additional capacity is not yet available, the cell can tune its coverage to maintain optimal throughput in the cell.
Capabilities for the end-user
The Ubiquisys Small Cell supports a broad range of call capabilities that meet or exceed mobile operators' needs for subscribers. Equally of importance, all of these capabilities are already used in live commercial networks and, in the process, have been through rigorous testing and optimisation cycles.
Our Small Cell can be configured to treat voice coverage or data performance preferentially. This suits mobile operators targeting coverage-related market segments, or those who target 3G performance as a selling proposition.
Below is a brief summary of the key call features we support:
- Video calling support.
- Supplementary Services Support.
- HD voice (WBAMR).
- Emergency Calls.
- HSDPA 14.4 Mbps.
- HSUPA 5.76 Mbps.
- Multiple Primary PDP Contexts.
- Cell FACH.
- Basic Data Rate Adaptation.
- Non-Standard UE Profiling & Corrective Actions.
- Advanced Data Rate Adaptation (Voice priority).
Macro network interworking
Hand Out. Ubiquisys’ Small Cell supports hand out of inter-frequency voice to the 2G (GERAN), or 3G macro network and hand out of video calls from the Small Cell cell to the 3G macro network only. Mobile operators can specify from their management system the priority of the handover type, and who gets the service.
Hand In. The Ubiquisys small cell supports the ability for the macro network to perform connected mode handovers of voice calls and data sessions.
Automatic Neighbour List Creation. The Ubiquisys Small Cell listens for surrounding 2G and 3G cell sites and creates its own list of neighbouring cells, so mobile phones can seamlessly handout to the surrounding macro network without costly manual configuration back in the network.
Statistics and Diagnostics
The Ubiquisys Small Cell acts as a part of the mobile network infrastructure, while being an easy to setup and use enterprise device. It is configured and provisioned via a standards-based TR-069/196 management system, and provides alarms and performance data according to a DSL Forum specification (TR-096).
Initial connection and registration with the HMS (HNB Management System) is done securely, and, once operating, the Small Cell gathers performance management (PM) data over a period of time, placing it into a performance report.
Ubiquisys has developed a highly flexible and comprehensive performance management reporting capability as a result of numerous commercial deployments. For example, the management system has full control over which counters are included in the report and the frequency at which the metrics are collected, and when the reports are started, stopped, and uploaded.
Core Network interfacing
Ubiqusys’ Small Cell Engine supports three different network interface protocols for connection to Small Cell gateways, allowing mobile operators to have the broadest choice of network gateway technologies and suppliers.
- Iuh – Ubiquisys was the first company to have standards-compliant Iuh Small Cells deployed commercially.
- GAN – Small Cell Engine support the GAN protocols plus the extension for Small Cell support. This network protocol is used in many commercial networks, with active Small Cell deployments in the order of hundreds of thousands of units.
- IMS – Where scalability and cost effectiveness are high priorities, connection directly to an IMS core network, with supporting IMS Small Cell applications, provides a next generation alternative for operators. This network protocol is commercially deployed, again with hundreds of thousands of units in service.
CloudBase™ Software Delivery and Service Activation. The Ubiquisys activation method means that the Small Cell fetches the latest software on activation, and can remotely recover from faults automatically by repeating the activation sequence, or on demand by the management system. This cloud service is delivered by global service delivery partners such as Akamai, Telecity and Flexera.