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Aug 16 2016

Can you fit 3 carriers into 1 small cell? Yes, if it’s Flexi Zone

Twitter: @stephanedaeuble

Nokia_stadium small cell
Small cells just keep getting more and more capable. That’s good news for operators as they strive to meet their customers’ desire for more data and better performance.

In a recent world first development, Nokia and Shanghai Mobile (a China Mobile subsidiary) aggregated three TD-LTE carriers in a single, all-in-one small cell on a commercial network.  Using a Nokia Flexi Zone multiband base station, this deployment follows the companies’ joint success in 2015 with two-carrier aggregation on small cells. Three-carrier aggregation has only been previously achieved on macro networks.

This breakthrough opens the door for operators to boost the capabilities of their LTE networks to provide extreme capacity and deliver a differentiating customer experience. This is especially important at large-scale events that create huge demand.

The deployed three-carrier aggregation triples the TD-LTE peak rate of the small cells to more than 300 Mbps, allowing traffic to be off-loaded from stressed macro networks and providing more focused coverage, all with minimal roll-out effort. A great customer experience with high data speeds also encourages customers to spend more.

Of course, you can’t use any old small cell to do this. The key ingredient for Shanghai Mobile is the Nokia Flexi Zone indoor Pico cell, which was recently named ‘most innovative small cell’ by the Small Cell Forum at its annual awards ceremony. The base station can support three licensed LTE carriers or any combination of LTE and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) or LTE-Wi-Fi Aggregation (LWA) based on LTE-Advanced Pro standards. Such combinations can provide a peak data rate in excess of 1 Gbps.

The theory of pushing the capabilities of small cells has been the subject of much research in the labs. But now, Nokia and Shanghai Mobile have shown how it truly works in practice.

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About Stephane Daeuble

Stephane is responsible for Small Cells and Flexi Zone global product marketing at Nokia. A self professed IT geek and gadget guy, he knows firsthand the value of high speed connectivity that Small Cells provide, and has been an active industry advocate on the role they will play in future HetNets and Ultra-Broadband. Connect with Stephane on LinkedIn