small cell data

The Expansion of Small Cells in North America

    Small Cell Networks Are Growing in 2018 and Beyond

    Approximately every decade in technology since 1980 has seen a new generation of cellular standards, and according to key players in industry we are now due for an addition of another generation- the 5G network. What does this mean? The blanket impact will be increased speed, which coupled with high end hardware could allow for advances in machine learning, virtual reality, etc.

    In order to successfully introduce 5G, there needs to be appropriate infrastructure to scale up and provide service to people all over the globe. That is why carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T plan to set the stage for 5G offering through deployment of small cells to meet the increasing customer demand for data.

    What are small cells?

    In order to understand the impact of the expansion of small cells, we need to understand the basics of small cell technology. Small cells are low power cellular radio access nodes operating in a specified wavelength spectrum. They are small in comparison to the traditional mobile macrocell since the range is shorter and the functionality is more basic. It is important to note that there is a bias towards building more small cells due to expectation that small cells will provide a viable method for increasing network capacity and quality for next generation networks.

    What is the growth projection of small cells?

    So if small cells are popular and expanding, what are the predicted growth figures? North American carriers are projected to deploy around 400,000 during this year alone, up from last year’s 292,000 small cells. A closer look at the category of small cell deployment shows that non-residential small cell deployments in North America is down from the 19.2% in 2017 to 14.3% of global deployments. It is projected that by 2020, there will be 552,000 small cell deployments by carriers in North America. The Small Cell Forum even predicts 850,000 small cells by 2025. Historically early small cell deployments have been biased towards indoor environments for densification purposes; however, by 2025 the percentage of small cells displayed outdoors will rise to up to 28% of all deployments.

    What should you expect?

    As mentioned before, Verizon Wireless and AT&T are planning their 5G infrastructure through deployment of small cells. According to a U.S. Federal Communications Commision filing, 62% of Verizon’s wireless deployments in 2017 were small cells. Why deploy small cells so aggressively? Small cells are the bet that the carriers have taken in order to meet increased consumer demand for data, internet of things, smart communities, etc. Moreover, small cells deployed closer to the ground will provide 5G coverage without using the tower top radios which support LTE.

    Want to learn more about how to utilize small cell technology? Cadsourcing understands the planning and infrastructure necessary to successfully deploying small cells. Contact us today to get started.