Qualcomm tests "densest" small cell network

Caroline Gabriel/Wireless Watch
Rethink
Large-scale deployments of public access small cells are still in their infancy, but there is already talk of “hyper-dense” networks to cope with hotspots of intense data usage. Most of this remains just talk, but Qualcomm – on the rampage in metrocells after a hesitant start- is showing off how the approach might work in reality.
 
The chip giant, never averse to a bold demonstration, is claiming the densest network ever constructed in a working environment, equating to 1,000 cells per square kilometer (a neat figure given that Qualcomm's ongoing marketing campaign revolves around the “1,000x Data Challenge,” predicting an increase of that magnitude over the coming decade).
 
It has put the trial together for Sprint's TDD technology, working with Airspan, the Wimax specialist that has evolved into a small cell vendor with heavy emphasis on self-organization and integrated backhaul.
 
That approach fits well with Qualcomm's own, given the giant's acquisition of small cell access/backhaul chip firm DesignArt and its own UltraSon software. All these elements are in play in the two-day trial at the Nascar Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona, which is phase two of Sprint's ongoing tests of “hyper-dense small cell networks” for the 2.5-GHz TDD airwaves it acquired with Clearwire.
 
The Clearwire build-out will be an important element of Sprint's multiband, multimode LTE services, its high frequencies and unpaired spectrum providing the capacity to outperform Verizon and AT&T in areas of high data demand, and to enable Sprint to hang on to one of its few remaining differentiators, unlimited data plans.
 
Nascar tracks have been symbolic demonstration venues for Sprint since the Nextel push-to-talk days and the carrier sponsors the car race series. Such events put advanced technologies through their paces with a heavy concentration of fans combined with challenging RF conditions. This trial is running on Airspan's AirSynergy 2000 Pico Base Stations, which support various features of LTE-Advanced including carrier aggregation, and are powered by Qualcomm's chipsets and its UltraSON software.
 

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