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NSN introduces the one-box LTE micro, pico base stations

October 17, 2013
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Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) has launched the Flexi Zone LTE microcell and picocell base stations. As per the company, these entail the same features and capacity as macro base stations.

Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst for Network Infrastructure at Ovum notes: “One of the reasons for reality of small cell uptake not matching early overhyped expectations can be attributed to the fact that maturity of the product offerings had not met operator expectations. Software and feature parity between macro and micro/pico cells is one of the critical steps needed in the small cell market maturation. It will help create tighter integration between the two network layers, which can lead to improved HetNet performance. Along with integration, mobile operators need to have a strategy with how to manage their small cell networks as they scale and traffic hotspots expand.”

Packing up to 5W of output power in an install-anywhere 5 kg/5 liter box, NSN’s all-in-one base stations will be available in early 2014. They are considerably smaller and lighter than existing microcell and picocell units, enabling them to be mounted closer to the center of traffic hot spots and robust enough to be deployed both outdoors and in public indoor locations.

The base stations also feature a built-in GPS module and 1588v2 synchronisation, avoiding the need for any extra units, further simplifying and speeding deployment. Their macro-level processing power comes from an innovative custom System on a Chip that allows the new base stations to run the same software as NSN’s macro base stations. This makes it easy to integrate them into complex HetNets and simplifies software upgrades across the network so that the same features are available everywhere at the same time. Operators will benefit from all the macrocell features, such as easy software upgrade to LTE-Advanced, full support of NSN’s NetAct Operations Support System (OSS), intelligent Self-Organizing Networks (iSON) automation as well as the Smart Scheduler and interference mitigation facilities.

The new microcell and picocell base stations also include NSN’s radio access security solution, which encrypts the traffic between the base stations and core network and automatically ensures that only operator authorised base stations can access the network. They are fitted with Bluetooth capabilities that enable remote access to the base stations from the ground. This is used for configuration when mounting the unit and, later on, for field maintenance thus reducing the time, cost and street disruption of using specialist access equipment.

To support its Flexi Zone solution, NSN has enhanced its Services for HetNets capabilities with a new analysis and planning tool that can optimise the deployment of base stations for multi-layer hot spots.


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