Densification is more than small cells. Or DAS. Or Wi-Fi. The demand to carry more traffic, to more device types, with more reliability and lower latency creates the need for networks that not only have a higher density of RAN access points, but that are fundamentally different. The atomic, discrete networks we have today are morphing into pervasive networks, that are distributed and moving closer to devices and subscribers.
In this report we look at what enables operators to move from ad-hoc to massive densification, and how that changes wireless networks. These are the directions we explore:
The big question: Indoor / Outdoor
Drivers: Coverage / Capacity
Performance: Capacity / Latency
Architecture: Small cells / DAS
Network: Distributed / Centralized
Technology: Cellular / Wi-Fi
Unlicensed spectrum: LTE / Wi-Fi
Spectrum: Sub-6 GHz / Millimeter wave
Interference: Co-channel / Separate channel
Backhaul: Fiber / Wireless
Fronthaul: CPRI / Xhaul
Access point density: High / Low
Business model: Single operator / Shared deployment
The report includes extensive interviews with ecosystem players such as Anritsu, Ascom Network Testing, CommScope, InterDigital, Kathrein, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung Networks, SOLiD, SpiderCloud Wireless. BT and DOCOMO Innovations’ interviews represent the operator’s perspective. The Caroline Panthers and an anonymous interviewee at a global retail company tell us what the venue owners expect from densification and are willing to contribute to make it a success.