“With the rapid growth in mobile traffic and data demand shifting to low mobility locations—the majority of them indoors—mobile operators are closing the gap between capacity and demand with solutions ranging from the traditional active and passive distributed antenna systems (DAS) to Carrier Wi-Fi, and this emerging category of public venue small cells,” according to Nick Marshall, principal analyst, mobile networks.
Deploying, installing, and operating small cells in public venues involves different considerations than street-level small cell deployments. Backhaul, power supply, and increased scale, with dozens or even hundreds of small cells in a densely packed network need to be handled. Also, unlike street-level deployments, public venue small cells face different interference challenges, dealing with higher interference between the small cells, rather than the surrounding macro.
“Public venue small cells deployed by mobile network operators offer access directly where it is needed at a lower cost than macrocells or DAS systems and will improve the QoS at a lower TCO than other methods of extending open access to public areas,” adds Marshall.
There are a range of vendors playing in this market from existing femtocell vendors like Ubiquisys, Alcatel-Lucent, or ip.access offering specialized public venue small cells, through to purpose built systems from SpiderCloud, or even “amenity based” curated Wi-Fi networks from Devicescape.