A small cell is a low-cost radio access point (AP) or wireless network base station with a low radio frequency (RF) power output, footprint, and range – it can be deployed indoors or outdoors with the spectrum of licensed, shared, or unlicensed. Small cells enhance cellular network coverage and capacity in densely populated areas where use demands are the highest. Small cells are basically connected to the fiber hence, they can handle massive amounts of data at fast speeds. Small cell nodes communicate wirelessly over radio waves and afterward send the signals to the internet or phone system, this is how it works.
Small cells boost coverage in a specific area by adding targeted capacity that will improve macro communications networks, and small cells transfer data using low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrums. So, now let us see how to test 5G small cell with User-friendly 4G Tester, 4G LTE Tester, 4G Network Tester and VOLTE Testing tools & Equipment and User-friendly Best wireless site survey software, site survey tools for wireless networks & Wifi site survey software app in detail.
Key benefits of small cell deployment
- Quick and easy to install.
- Improve coverage and is highly inconspicuous.
- Cheaper than microcells.
- Boosts capacity in urban areas especially in densely populated localities.
- Deploy without highly technical skill sets.
- Highly flexible and extends the battery life of mobile devices.
There are three types of small cells mentioned below:
- Femtocells – These are like wireless routers, much smaller than other forms of small cells with a typical maximum range of 10m and designed for indoor use with a small group of simultaneous users. The main purpose of femtocells is to improve indoor coverage, and they can only accommodate a few users at a time.
- Picocells – They are used to work indoors or outdoors, provide several times the coverage, have better data throughput, and can support a maximum of 100 users. Picocells are usually installed in larger indoor areas, especially where building interference disrupts signal strength. Apartment buildings, office buildings, schools, hotels, hospitals, airports, and train stations are the name of the few where picocells can be used to strengthen coverage.
- Microcells – Microcells are the most powerful type of small cells, having better coverage with a range of up to 2 km. They are perfect for providing outdoor coverage, hence suited to offloading traffic in areas with high demand. For example, traffic lights and street signs are the areas where microcells can be used.
What are 5G Small Cells?
5G small cells are micro base stations that have network access issues indoors because the metallic structures obstruct the network signals, there small cell systems play the leading solution that caters to a small segment of a macro site. They are usually deployed in dense urban areas such as downtown, stadiums, train stations, malls, and areas, which have the requirements for coverage and capacity. Small cells’ use cases are mentioned below.
Carrier Outdoor: 5G small cells are used in downtown areas such as street level on light posts or the side of a building, beneficial for outdoor coverage in highly urban areas, wherein you do have macro-cell coverage.
Carrier Indoor: 5G small cells are deployed indoors as most of the data consumption happens there by people using mobile phones and streaming videos. Indoor small cells are deployed in public areas such as malls, stadiums, and train stations just to avoid the limited penetration of microcell signals indoors.
Enterprise: 5G small cells are used by enterprises such as in industrial manufacturing sites or even private LTE networks. For example, mining is one of the applications where small cells are being used.
5G small cells are smaller areas of coverage within a 5G network, which helps operators deliver 5G service where it’s needed most and improves coverage to more localized areas. Small cells in 5G use smaller base stations, and they have much less capacity than macrocells. 5G small cells are beneficial to extending a network’s coverage in a concentrated area, so to maintain the network stable, 5G network testing and monitoring are required. RantCell is one the reliable 5G small cell network testing software that can be used to measure QoE on the 5G network testing needs. Whether it’s for drive testing or indoor survey, benchmarking, or crowdsourcing, you can use the RantCell tool, which is a mobile phone-based app (compatible with Android and iOS) that will measure all the KPIs and provide test results in near real-time through its web-based dashboard.