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Small Cell Forum unveils new 5G initiatives

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The Small Cell Forum has come up with six new development programmes designed to feed the carriers’ demand for more bandwidth as we head towards 5G

The initiatives, outlined at the Forum’s 30th Plenary in Rome, represent joint plans to ease and speed small cell deployment. The emphasis, according to the Forum, is on developing technical solutions for the integration of heterogeneous networks, while establishing the requirements for fifth generation (5G) mobile networks.

The Rome Meeting, dubbed Champions Day, saw industry representatives consider presentations about six new work programmes proposed by different teams of operators and vendors.

Each work programme was ‘championed’ by an operator and equipment vendor, and set out to outline their inventions for small cell building schemes and explain the practicalities of bringing these plans to reality. Under the terms of the Forum’s Release Programme, approved schemes would be shared among the stakeholders involved in building mobile telecom infrastructure across the world.

Each different telco/vendor team focused on one of six distinct areas. These were, respectively, a License-exempt spectrum (proposed by Qualcomm/Vodafone), a Virtualisation scheme (Cisco and China Mobile), a plea for neutral host multi-operator cells (Truphone/ip.access), an enterprise focused scheme (Huawei/Orange), a plea for HetNet (Ericsson and Airhop) and a plan to make small cells the cornerstone of 5G networks (from Jio and Huawei).

Some of the schemes had more immediate impact. The license free spectrum plan aims to make much better use of the available spectrum. As a result, its champions argued, mobile operators could significantly boost coverage and capacity and improve the user experience.

Forum chairman Alan Law, Vodafone’s Distinguished Engineer, said the initiative represents the next stage in the maturity of the mobile industry. “Small cells are about to move to a new level of influence as demand ramps up for increasingly dense networks,” said Law, “it’s a challenge to which the industry must rise.”

Yesterday in London the Small Cell Forum met to identify the priorities that will be critical in shaping the roadmap for 5G networks and consider the plans championed by Jio and Huawei.

“The small cell will play a central role in the high capacity, densely deployed HetNet networks of the future, for both 4G and for future 5G networks,” said Law.

Discover the latest developments on the road to 5G at 5G World in London 28-30 June 2016

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