Skip to main content

Big Benefits from Combining Small Cells and Wi-Fi

Small cells and Wi-Fi off-load are proven to be the most powerful tools that mobile network operators have to increase data communication capacity for their subscribers.

These technologies enable them to meet the demand from a growing number of customers who use smartphones and tablets that are generating rapidly increasing mobile network traffic loads -- due largely to video content consumption.

According to the latest market study by Senza Fili, mobile network operators that deploy small cells and Wi-Fi concurrently can reduce their wireless data per-bit costs up to two-thirds -- when compared with legacy macro-cell costs.

Most mobile service providers don't get to choose whether to use small cells or Wi-Fi. To meet their capacity density targets in the high-traffic locations where subscribers gather, they need to deploy both small cells and Wi-Fi, side by side.

And subscribers demand both: Wi-Fi for fast and inexpensive wireless access, and cellular for mobility and coverage. The Senza Fili study explored the business model for the coexistence of small cells and Wi-Fi within the same network.

Operators not only stand to benefit from using both Wi-Fi and small cells to boost capacity, they also can reap additional gains by deploying both in the same small-cell enclosure -- thereby increasing the capacity of each small cell and integrating Wi-Fi traffic more tightly within the cellular network.


"By deploying LTE, 3G and Wi-Fi jointly as part of an integrated sublayer of small cells, operators can meet their capacity targets faster, leverage their existing Wi-Fi footprint, and significantly reduce their per-bit costs," says Monica Paolini, president of Senza Fili Consulting.

The business case for small cells can be challenging, especially for 3G. Adding Wi-Fi to small cells strengthens the business case. Senza Fili used a total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) model to calculate the overall benefits of the combined solution.

The key market study findings include:
  • TCO for small cells and Wi-Fi ranges from 10 to 25 percent of the TCO for a macro cell, depending on the configuration of the small cell.
  • Because Opex plays a much larger role than Capex in the small-cell business case, configurations that reduce Opex -- such as multi-sector and multi-interface small cells -- lead to a more robust business case.
  • The low marginal cost makes adding Wi-Fi, 3G or additional sectors to an LTE small cell an attractive proposition that reduces the number of sites a network operator must manage and increases capacity more rapidly.
  • Even at low densities, LTE small cells and Wi-Fi quickly take on a dominant role, relative to macro cells, in transporting mobile traffic.
  • Small cells and Wi-Fi enable operators to slash per-bit TCO by at least half. By combining cellular and Wi-Fi, operators can cut the per-bit TCO to a third of the TCO of macro cells.

Popular posts from this blog

Big Data Analytics Revenue to Reach $215.7 Billion

Across the globe, more leaders seek actionable insight from the customer data they've stored in huge data lakes. Worldwide spending on big data and business analytics (BDA) solutions is forecast to reach $215.7 billion in 2021 -- that's an increase of 10.1 percent over 2020, according to the latest worldwide market study by International Data Corporation (IDC). Moreover, BDA technology investment will likely gain momentum over the next five years as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for global BDA spending over the 2021-2025 forecast period will be 12.8 percent. Big Data Analytics Market Development "As executives seek solutions to enable better, faster decisions, we're seeing relatively healthy BDA spending across all industries. Leveraging data for insights into everything from internal business operations to the customer journey is top of mind and of strategic importance," said Jessica Goepfert, vice

Warehouse Robot Deployment Gains New Momentum

The retail and wholesale back-office infrastructure market is being transformed by technology. The warehousing industry has accelerated automation efforts due to the increased order volume and labor shortages driven by the global pandemic. In addition to technology solutions such as handheld devices with enhanced capabilities, autonomous, collaborative, and mobile robots are proving to be the fastest-growing productivity-enhancing solution in the warehouse workspace. Commercial Robotics Market Development According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, global commercial robot revenue in warehouses will have a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 23 percent from 2021 to 2030 and exceed $51 billion by 2030. "Mobile robots are at the heart of the warehouse robotics market and account for most shipments and revenue. These robots, made up of Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), are being used to move goods within the warehouse a

Hybrid Work: How to Enhance Employee Productivity

When you hire qualified talent for a key role and trust them to perform, you'll likely achieve the best outcome. Skilled and experienced people will deliver results, regardless of the challenges. That's a key lesson learned from the pandemic experience as most knowledge workers were asked to work from their homes. However, some resist returning to an open-plan office. It's unacceptable. Meanwhile, forward-thinking leaders decided a "return to normal" is undesirable, and in hindsight, everyone should aspire to be more accomodating than before. Therefore, location flexibility is okay. Hybrid Workforce Market Development How will people adapt to these changes? They'll apply the modern IT tools at their disposal. They'll learn new skills and thrive. Nearly 80 percent of employees are now successfully using online collaboration tools for work in 2021 -- that's up from just over half of workers in 2019, according to the latest market study by Gartner. This g