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Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect, BT, has been working for a long time on small-cell and backhaul solutions that address the increasing capacity and coverage requirements. 

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How does a densified network change the way carriers test their networks? We discussed this topic with Jeremy Cline, North America Product Manager, and Rob Wattenburg, North America SwissQual Business Director, at Rohde &Schwarz.

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I talked to a Director of Network Architecture and Strategy who choose to remain anonymous about the enterprise requirements and whether carriers meet them. He told us “I’m looking to move to small cells. I’ve been pushing carriers in that direction. Unfortunately, I haven’t got them on the same page as I am. They have their single-point solution; for each carrier, it’s all different.”

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We discussed our report "Massively densified networks. Why we need them and how we can build them" in a webinar on September 14, 2016 at 8:00 am PT, 11:00am ET, 4:00 pm BST (UTC+1), 5:00 pm CEST, 11:00 pm HKT. You can listen to it offline here

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Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) is one of the most salient examples of how location of network and service functions matters when we optimize network performance and QoE – specifically by pushing functions and content that are typically part of the core closer to the edge – to the RAN and to the subscriber. 

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Stadiums and other sports venues are typically the first targets of densification because of the extremely high usage density during events. We talked about wireless coverage with DAS and Wi-Fi at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, with James Hammond, the Director of Information Technology with the Carolina Panthers, and Kevin Schmonsees, the CTO of Beam Wireless.

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Testing and monitoring in densified networks has to evolve to enable operators to understand network performance and to identify performance issues in networks that are more advanced but also more complex. We talked with Todd Cotts at Ascom Network Testing about how testing and monitoring are changing, and how they can assist operators in planning their networks.

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At Kathrein, densification is pushing towards new antenna configuration, form factor, and location – and more generally to deploy equipment that blends in the environment or cannot be seen. In our conversation with Jim DeKoekkoek, Product Line Manager, Antennas and Small Cells, we talked about Street Connect, a solution that takes small cells below ground, protected by specially designed manholes. 

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In millimeter wave deployments, densification is not an option, but a necessity because of the limited coverage radius, as well as the opportunity to provide a vast capacity increase in the backhaul or in the access. We talked about the role of mmW in densification with Alpaslan Demir, Principal Engineer at InterDigital. 

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Densification is nothing new in wireless networks to expand coverage or increase capacity. But the pace of densification and how it is achieved has changed. Operators increasingly target indoor locations in addition to outdoor ones. Ben Cardwell, Senior Vice President and Segment Leader at CommScope, sees an increased need for indoor coverage.

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