With technology changing at a rapid pace, mobile operators are faced with the unique challenge of administering the appropriate level of cellular capacity and coverage to customers at the lowest possible cost, and with best-in-class services. The need to stay connected 24/7 to millions of innovative applications in any building or at any event is placing enormous pressure on carriers to adapt their access strategy in order to alleviate blind spots and congestion issues.
According to OSP Magazine, some 70% of voice and 90% of data traffic originates indoors, making small cells the best option for these types of environments. Small cells are indeed a compelling alternative to macrocell, thanks to their ability to deliver tremendous amounts of mobile data in the least expensive way possible. What’s more, due to macrocell overloading in densely populated areas, such as malls, stadiums and train stations, as well as dead zones occurring in urban towers, small cells can help to ensure both an increase in coverage and capacity—all while keeping costs under control. EXFO’s webinar on small cells provides great insight into the rapidly evolving trends in the field.
However, small cell deployment is not without its challenges either. An estimated 26% of the small cell lifecycle is devoted to testing—a tremendous change for operators used to testing macro sites, for which testing accounts for only 1%. Due to the sheer number of small cells that are being deployed in a short time frame and limited availability of technical resources, it is impossible to perform the configuration, activation and monitoring as before.
EXFO has developed an automated solution, Zero Touch, that streamlines small cell activation and commissioning through use of a smartphone, significantly decreasing the activation, validation and monitoring process. In its latest App Note, Addressing Small Cell Deployment Challenges, EXFO describes in detail the issues operators face when deploying small cells and clearly demonstrates how EXFO’s automated small cell solution makes a strong business case for ensuring that small cell testing is economically feasible.