Introduction to Small Cell
The evolution of mobile networks propels the Small Cell technology to derive from the hierarchical networking architecture. A Small Cell device installed in home, so-called Small Cell CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) can work as hot spot under macro cells to enhance capacity or coverage. Small Cell CPE is the good solution, particularly for out-of-coverage areas.
Small Cell Technology
The huge potential deployment quantity of Small Cell will have to meet scalability requirements for mobile core networks originally designed for much smaller scales of Macro Cell BTS. To solve this issue, the RNC feature is built into the Small Cell with a gateway to interface with the core network. Based on the TR-069 framework, the Small Cell management system is used for auto provisioning similar to the mechanism for huge-scale xDSL CPE deployments in fixed applications.
Small Cell CPEs can be deployed in remote areas such as residential or public spaces close to the subscribers to maximize the technical advantage. Small Cell Gateways and Management systems that are normally located at central offices can be placed within the Core Network. The Small Cell Gateways are activated for network homologation and they make the Core Network transparent to the deployed Small Cell CPEs. With the Small Cell Gateways, networks are able to perform handover between Macro base station and Small Cell CPE, as well as among Small Cell CPEs.
Small Cell CPEs are normally installed by end users and it requires Plug-and-Play features, different from Macro BTS that are normally installed after precise, detailed network planning to avoid inter-cell interference. In terms of Plug-and-Play features, the Small Cell CPE has the SON (Self Optimization Network) function built-in; with which Small Cell CPEs will keep the optimal network setting even if the network environment is changed.
A typical Small Cell network architecture is shown as below: