Due to mobile data growth and the associated proliferation of apps, mobile network operators around the world are considering new broadband network deployment models using small cells -- a market segment expected to grow from 3.2 million cells in 2012 to 62.4 million cells in 2016.
4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, announced that it has released a report to help with the integration and deployment of high performance heterogeneous networks.
A heterogeneous network consists of different wireless technologies working together to provide a seamless wireless experience to the end user.
It is comprised of traditional large macrocells and smaller cells -- including microcells, picocells and femtocells -- as well as Wi-Fi, which can also be used as a mechanism for broadband traffic offloading.
Additionally, some of the deployment models supporting heterogeneous networks include distributed antenna systems and relays.
"We are at the tip of the iceberg as far as deploying intelligent heterogeneous networks to support the growing mobile broadband demand," said Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas.
Mobile broadband data consumption is soaring with some estimates expecting worldwide aggregate demand to increase 25 fold between 2011 and 2016. However, attaining new spectrum is difficult and building macrocell sites is cumbersome.
4G Americas continues to advocate for more spectrum throughout the Americas to address network congestion and allow the industry to grow by serving society, and member companies continue to invest in new standardized architectures to improve network performance.
Small cells -- and the heterogeneous network -- are among the innovations for new network architecture that can help to relieve the growing traffic congestion.
That being said, some research has highlighted that traffic distribution is uneven for some carriers -- with 80 percent of the traffic carried by 20 percent of the cell sites. So, ongoing network optimization is required, in addition to adaptive infrastructure modeling.