The cellular service providers demand for intelligent networks and support systems to optimize the network usage. This demand is attributed to the noteworthy expansion of cellular network coverage and rising demand for data access across the globe. In addition, system complexity is further supporting the demand for intelligent networks to optimize the cellular capacity and coverage. In order to optimize the cellular networks, mobile operators have several options such as deployment of small cells, carrier WiFi, self organizing networks and cloud-RAN (Radio Access Network). These technologies are capable of enabling the cellular service providers with unique solutions to solve complexities and optimize the cellular networks.
Carrier WiFi technology is leveraged to offer the subscribers with easy access to WiFi network for improving quality of service. In context with the service provider, the carrier WiFi technology enables ease of managing and scaling the network.
Additionally, carrier WiFi technology has several advantages such as wide area mobility, network scalability and management, carrier-grade security, integration with RAN, compatibility with Hotspot 2.0 and improves customer experience. Owing to the capability of carrier WiFi technology, to offer effective solutions to both the subscribers and the network operators, it is expected that the network operators will demand for carrier WiFi technology in the near future.
Small Cells are basically network operator controlled radio access network with low power consumption. These small cells operate in both licensed spectrum and unlicensed spectrum.
The network coverage of these small cells varies from 10 meter to a few hundred meters. There are basically three types of small cells, namely, picocells, femtocells and microcells.
These small cells differ in the coverage range and deployment site. Owing to the rising demand for highly available network within the premises of the subscribers, it is expected that the small cell demand will rise in the near future.
Self organizing networks (SON) is technology designed to streamline and expedite the processes involved in configuring, planning and managing, optimizing and repairing radio access networks. The standards for SON have been designed by organizations such as Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) and 3rd Generation partnership Project (3GPP).
The SON are classified on the basis of their architectural types, namely, distributed SON, centralized SON and hybrid SON.
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Cloud-RAN is fundamentally a cloud based radio access network that is used to offer 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communication services. Cloud-RAN provides effective scalability in the mobile data networks.
The architecture of cloud-Ran consist of two prime components, namely remote radio heads and baseband units. These units are connected via common public radio interface.
The Cloud-RAN technology offers the network operator with the energy efficiency and cost effectiveness. Moreover, using a Cloud-RAN, the network can improve the capacity of the network with high spectral efficiency.
Owing to the rising complexities in the network architecture, the networks operators are expected to opt for Cloud-RAN technologies; thus, over demand for Cloud-RAN technology is expected to rise over the coming years.
The cellular capacity and coverage optimization network is highly competitive with several solutions providers offering unique benefits to the cellular service providers. The major players offering carrier WiFi and small cell services include AT&T Mobility, KT Corporation, SFR S.A., Singapore Telecommunication Limited, Verizon Communications, Inc., NEC Corporation, Netgear, Inc., Alcatel-Lucent S.A. and ZTE Corporation. The companies offering Cloud-RAN services include Agilent Technologies, Telefonaktiebolaget L.M. Ericsson, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Nokia Networks, Texas Instruments, Inc., IBM Corporation and Hitachi Ltd.
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