Ofcom call for small cells will test operators

New research from Ofcom states that the increased spectral efficiency provided by LTE will not be enough to cope with booming demand for mobile data.

The regulator argues that intelligent network design will be key and that the greater use of small cells, including femto and picocells, is essential for successful LTE deployment.

However, Vikas Arora, CTO of EXFO, made the following comments: “The anticipated shift from macro towers to a microcellular architecture presents operators with a significant challenge. Instead of macro towers every few kilometres broadcasting signal widely, operators will need to deploy small cells broadcasting over hundreds of metres to maximise data rates. This introduction of new components and a new infrastructural approach will require extensive testing to ensure deployment is right first time.

“Even without small cells, LTE is a new departure for UK operators. While it will provide long term benefit to users, operators must ensure that service is not impinged in the short term. To prevent this from occurring, LTE architecture requires a more granular, end-to-end approach to test and measurement. For example, testing needs to be on a per-user, per-application level in order for peaks and troughs in demand to be accommodated. As LTE deployment continues, effective test and measurement will play a huge part in enabling network operators to remain competitive and increase profitability.”