Well, it all starts with their morphology: each small cell deployment has its own characteristics based on a fixed list of components. For starters, small cells should not be mistaken with small-footprint macrocells. To ensure that a large number of network elements would be provided to service providers at a minimum cost, a number of compromises were made in order to create small cells. The design of a small cell must respect its requirements for power, footprint, capacity (voice and data) and coverage. Another important element of small cell design is connectivity; the small cell must have input interfaces for clock synchronization, backhaul connectivity through wired or wireless access, and power.
Of course, there are various challenges inherent to small cell deployment, all of which can differ for each deployment, as can the manner in which they are addressed. Hence, the reasoning behind our reference to the DNA of small cell deployment.
So, the question remains: How do you go about sequencing the DNA of cellular network deployment? Well, rather than giving a lecture on molecular biology, we’ll simply summarize by saying that much in the way that most DNA structures can be described as double helices created from an alignment composed of the nucleobases adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine (which are transcribed as ATCG), small cell DNA can be transcribed as BSIM, with the letter “B” representing backhaul connectivity, the letter “S” standing for synchronization, the “I” representing infrastructure and location, and the “M” representing management. Each of these components of small cell deployment greatly influences the overall design, in turn giving it unique characteristics.
Now, although the technology related to small cell deployment is not very complex, given that most of it was previously validated during the deployment of macrocells, the lifecycle of a small cell network can get quite complicated from installation to maintenance, especially in light of the vast number of small cells that must be deployed.
For full details on the various components of small cell DNA, in addition to the different testing and monitoring solutions available to simplify the installation process, check out our DNA of Small Cells white paper.