Vodafone will start shrinking its cells in 2013

Vodafone is already trialing 1000 small cells in the UK, and starting next year it plans to expand its use of tiny base station technology into its other global networks. Vodafone is still cautious though about small cells’ immediate impact.

Outdoor Wi-Fi vendor Ruckus files for $100M IPO

Ruckus is following a different path than its arch-rival BelAir Networks. Instead of preening itself for acquisition, it’s filed for an initial public offering. Hoping to raise $100 million, Ruckus will keep plugging away at building expansive outdoor Wi-Fi networks.

AT&T may be ready to begin its small cell push

AT&T has started sending out small cell feelers to its vendors,which could be the first sign of big changes to come on AT&T’s networks. LightReading reports that an AT&T RFI indicates that Ma Bell is looking to procure as many as 100,000 pint-sized base stations.

Sprint has big plans for small cells

Sprint plans to make an aggressive use of small cells in its future LTE network, launching tens of thousands of tiny high-capacity base stations in high-traffic indoor and outdoor areas in 2013 and 2014.The end goal of Sprint’s small cell efforts is a heterogeneous network.

Arieso gets big bandwidth out of the smallest cell

Arieso is working with a major U.S. carrier to plan for the advent of small cells. The company won’t name the operator, saying only it was a Tier I player, but that carrier is using its tools to help build the heterogenous networks of the future.

Can millimeter waves solve the small cell backhaul problem?

The mobile industry is counting on future wireless networks being heterogeneous: complex multi-layered systems of overlapping big and small cells, pumping out cheap bandwidth. But to arrive at hetnet we first need to figure out how to link all of those small cells together.

Verizon: In the game of 4G, spectrum trumps technology

Verizon has seen the future of cellular networking — and it doesn’t look much different from today. In an FCC filing, Verizon dismissed a bevy of new wireless technologies and claimed the only way it can grow capacity is to layer more airwaves onto its current networks.

Everyone bullish on Wi-Fi – with a few big exceptions

Smartphones are driving a renaissance in global Wi-Fi hotspots, according to a new report. But the primary beneficiaries of these millions of new access points, the mobile operators, aren’t all convinced of the hotspot’s merits as a means of adding cheap capacity to their networks.


Finding new solutions for the new age of wireless networks

Mobile operators face an unprecedented growth in data traffic stemming from multiple dimensions — subscribers, devices and applications among them. But simply adding more macro base stations or upgrading to new technologies such as LTE will not suffice to meet the data growth challenge. An alternative solution is to take advantage of heterogeneous networks, which are the result of increasing capacity in congested areas while leveraging the existing macro infrastructure across the network. These networks provide operators with a more flexible set of tools that will allow them to implement deep changes in how they think about and deploy their networks. This report explores the opportunities and challenges, and includes a look at what’s to come in the future as wireless data traffic continues to grow. Companies mentioned in this report include AT&T, T-Mobile and Motorola. For a full list of companies, and to read the full report, sign up for a free trial.


Femtocells Won’t Last Long

I’ve used wireless 3G services since 2004, and I’ve seen the experience degrade over time as demand for these networks has outstripped supply. More people have discovered the joys of using the Internet everywhere, which has led to growth in adoption and more devices with embedded 3G radios. In turn, carriers are unable to balance the growing demand with their limited supply.

And it’s not just data traffic that’s causing problems — it’s all too common for voice calls to be dropped due by overwhelmed networks or limited geographic coverage. But without billions of dollars in additional infrastructure investment, carrier networks are limited to their fixed coverage areas.

In an effort to limit network expansion (and its associated costs), carriers are starting to push femtocells as a solution for poor coverage in the home. These router-sized devices are essentially miniature cellular base stations that use a pre-existing broadband connection for backhaul. The potential market ranges from home users to small businesses where people use a cellphone in lieu of a fixed landline. From the user perspective, femtocells mean more reliable phone service. From the carrier’s point of view, femtocells offer bits of targeted network expansion where it’s needed most, and at a relatively small cost.

But can fixed-base femtocells really rescue us from the plights of cellular constraints?