Global: Small Cell Forum releases 5.1 version of its standards, focuses on virtualization

Small Cell Forum - LogoSmall Cell Forum, the group dedicated to drive widespread adoption of small cells has released version 5.1 of its small cell standard. The release establishes a robust framework to commercialize small cells with outputs grouped by usage – home, enterprise, urban, rural and remote.

For those who are new to the concept, ‘small cell’ is an umbrella term for operator-controlled, low-powered radio access nodes, including those that operate in licensed spectrum and unlicensed carrier-grade Wi-Fi. Small Cells have a range from 10 meters to several hundred meters.

Release 5.1 mainly focuses on ‘the impact of virtualization on small cells’. In an era when telecom industry is moving towards the virtualization, it dependence of small cell industry is on the rise. Alan Law, Chair of Small Cell Forum claimed that the group has identified clear-cut benefits and factors that drive towards centralization and virtualization of small cell networks.

“Small Cell Forum has always had a strong focus on interoperability and some of our most influential work to date has been around integrating small cells with not just the macro network, but with service integration, Wi-Fi technologies and enterprise networks,” said Sue Monahan, CEO of Small Cell Forum.

“What we’re seeing now is small cell deployments really ramping up and being used as part of true HetNets, with operators taking advantage of a range of different technologies to deliver the best subscriber experience. Our new roadmap will help operators accelerate the delivery of integrated HetNet deployments while also leveraging new trends from virtualization through to 5G, M2M and LAA,” Monahan added.

Small cell is a growing market, showcasing a growth of 17.5 percent year-on-year. The market is mainly driven by the indoor demand. The indoor demands will continue to grow, but the experts say that there is better chance for the demand to grow in enterprise and public access venues in the upcoming years. Such an improvement will bring into existence new business opportunities. Experts estimate a five-fold growth for small cell industry by 2019.

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