Many midsize and large businesses have taken an interest in deploying their own small cell radio networks. They can use small cell nodes to create a linked web of Wi-Fi or mobile (such as 4G LTE (News - Alert)) that works throughout an entire building and may even stretch across an entire campus of buildings. Telecoms can even use them to extend their own networks, and public entities such as colleges can make sure their students have wireless coverage on every part of their grounds.
Regardless of the business or organization interested in applying these techniques, the history of small cell network setup has not always been a clear one. They could be expensive to install and manage – often outside the range of what prospective customers wish to spend. This is the motivation behind Nokia’s (News - Alert) Flexi Zone portfolio of small cell radios, which received its latest addition, the Flexi Zone Micro, this past June.
The Micro is extraordinary in that it represents the types of changes Nokia wants to make in the small cell market. Micro supports the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, a unique feature among the competition, and it also uses self-organizing network (SON) hardware and software that has been at the forefront of Nokia development for several years.
Nokia’s mission with its SON is first to make small cell network easier to link regarding the hardware in question. Radios in a SON can become plug-and-play instead of requiring hours of manual setup for each network node. The network devices all know how to work with the centralized network controller – in this case found in Nokia’s Eden-Net software – and optimize their own functioning based on network conditions. Of course, power users can alter their operation according to individual use cases, but the initial setup should always proceed without a lot of leg work.
From that point forward, the radios can then also perform self-healing actions by re-routing network traffic in the event of a single node’s failure. The centralized network controller will become aware of the situation and wait for a permanent fix. In the meantime, users should experience little disruption in their connectivity.
Nokia indicated that it now offers 25 new frequency bands in its Mini-Macro BTS series of small cells. It has unveiled support for 4.5G Pro wireless in three devices under the Flexi Zone name.
Edited by Alicia Young