Enterprise Small Cells
Why do operators need enterprise indoor cellular solutions?
A key challenge for mobile service providers in the enterprise space has been to provide their enterprise customers with a consistent quality of mobile coverage and capacity. The business case for adding additional cell sites, or in-building picocell or DAS, is too often not viable for either cost or scalability reasons. As an enterprise’s buildings vary massively in location, number, size, shape, age and construction, finding a solution for its unique mobile phone network performance needs has been elusive until now. Added to these long-standing challenges, we have increasing demands placed by:
- The move to mobile away from fixed line – business is conducted where most appropriate, anywhere in an enterprise’s offices, but equally from home; no longer sitting at one desk.
- The massive increase in mobile data driven by smartphones, laptop PCs and tablets.
- Flexible Capacity & Coverage. By using 8-call and 16-call small cell devices at 100-250mW, capacity and coverage needs for small- to medium-sized enterprises can be suitably tailored, either alone or in self-organising grids of small cells. This allows a flexible solution to meet the demands and needs of a variety of enterprises and the differing loads within them (eg, sales office vs warehouse).
- User Mobility by Design. The Ubiquisys software has been designed to meet the mobility needs of the enterprise market through a variety of mechanisms, ensuring an efficient and seamless service throughout the building. These essentially allow an operator to control the way in which users are migrated to the small cell environment, how their mobility is handled when they are there, how they are kept in this efficient sub-system and, ultimately, how they move back to the macro environment afterwards. Ubiquisys ActiveSON Grid provides a group of small cells with the ability to provide local handovers with congestion relief, and so enabling mobility within an enterprise-wide small cells grid.
- Low-Cost Installation. Ubiquisys’ award-winning enterprise small cells have been designed on the principle that the installation is both low-cost and simple. There is no complex radio engineering required, as is the norm for picocell and DAS systems. In fact, installation can be conducted by the businesses themselves, or by traditional IT support companies.
- Low Ongoing OPEX Costs. Ubiquisys Small Cells are fully plug-and-play and have the ability to activate and upgrade remotely without affecting service at a massive scale – meaning that any OPEX burden is minimised.
For small enterprises, or medium enterprises with small buildings, all that is needed is a single enterprise small cell. Ubiquisys enterprise solutions are targeted with 50 or fewer attached users per Small Cell, and it is assumed that at least 50 per cent of the traffic will be voice.
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 within the home, while at the same time minimising any possible disruption to the external macro network. These algorithms also enable full plug-and-play for the enterprise by providing the ability to activate and upgrade small cells remotely, without affecting service. This can be achieved at a massive scale, meaning that any OPEX burden to the network operator is minimised.
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 at the enterprise, 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 cells. Using Listen Mode, the Small Cell selects the settings for optimal performance for users of the small cell, while minimising the interference to the macro according to the operator’s policies.
Once installed, the Ubiquisys Small Cell uniquely continues 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.
- Up/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.
Capabilities for the end-user
The Ubiquisys Small Cell supports a broad range of call capabilities that meet or exceed mobile operator need for residential small cells. 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.
Residential small cells are increasingly being used in SoHo environments, where users have higher expectations as their business depends on efficient communications to operate. For these segments, in particular, we also support soft enhancements, including HD Voice (Wide Band AMR), and higher HSPA data rates.
Below is a brief summary of the key call features we support:
- Video Calling Support
- Supplementary Services Support
- HD voice (WBAMR)
- Emergency Calls
- HSDPA 14.4Mbps
- HSUPA 5.76Mbps
- 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 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.
Cell Stickiness. Once a mobile device is camped on to the small cell, it will endeavour to keep a device attached to the small cell layer for as long as possible before hand out to the macro layer.
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 hand out 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 set up 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 (Home NodeB 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.
Ubiquisys ActiveSON™ Grid
In addition to the feature set above, Ubiquisys has developed its unique ActiveSON™ grid solution for larger enterprises, where it is beneficial to create a managed layer of overlapping small cell coverage.
- Enhanced Neighbour Lists. The Small Cell supports a SON client, which provides the capability to automatically discover and communicate with its peer devices in the local small cell network. This allows the small cell to automatically understand the configuration of its neighbouring small cells, so it can adapt its configuration to provide best service and build ranked neighbour lists for handover.
- Automatic adaptation to addition/removal of units. As units are added, removed or occasionally fail, the grid self-adjusts small cell power levels to accommodate new units or fill any gaps.
- Small Cell Group Management. Within larger enterprises it may be desired to form a set of sub-grids to provide services in non-contiguous areas, or across more than one site. In order to facilitate this, the ActiveSON grid provides for small cells to be grouped into site and group categories. Connected mode handovers are provided within groups, whilst idle mode mobility is provided between groups. The sites and groups can be any combination of structure up to a total of 200 small cells. The group structure also provides the means to control access to the grid, as groups may be configured to be either in open or closed access mode.
- Small Cell to Small Cell Handover. The enterprise solution supports intra and inter-frequency handovers, including multi-RAB combinations and Cell FACH mobility. For connected mode mobility, small cells can be formed into groups, and handovers within a call (connected mode mobility) are supported between small cells in the same group. This gives an enterprise a high degree of flexibility in its deployment scenarios. Out-of-call mobility (Idle mode reselection) is supported across all small cell groups, subject to access control restrictions.
- Congestion Relief Load Balancing. On congestion (the small cell is at capacity and there is a new mobile originated call), the Small Cell can either redirect existing calls to other small cells within the same grid group, or make use of cell FACH functionality. The handover target will be based on reported mobile device measurements (if available) or on the strongest neighbour.