Cyrille Joffre, Network CTO, Monaco & Islands Cable & Wireless, is taking part in a panel discussion in the Backhaul Summit track on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we quiz him on his views on the challenges that are thrown up by HetNet deployments.
What’s your vision of a Hetnet enabled future network and how soon will it become a reality?
Hetnets are seen as a key parameter in the high data usage areas and a crucial part of the in-building coverage equation, and promise to alleviate data traffic stress at the macro level. More importantly, the tech will enable better business cases by leveraging specific heterogeneous deployments such as “Licensed Femto”, “Bring Your Own Wi-Fi”, and “SP Carrier Wi-Fi” in different scenarios (both offload and onload) for residential, SMB/SME, metro and hotspot.
Spectrum and mobility are two fundamental characteristics of wireless networks, best defined respectively by ‘scarcity’ and ‘unpredictability’. I therefore envision that HetNets (i.e. a multi-layer, multi-mode, multi-band network architecture by common definition) help bridge these some gaps. As for Wi-Fi, unlicensed radio resources could be blurred with licensed cellular resources at user data session level (already demonstrated in labs). That would prove to be spectrally efficient and also to remove complexity for devices in connecting the network, as well as in QoS management, and as a result delivering a better user experience. Markets such as the USA are driving HetNets and consequently we keep a close eye at that momentum.
I’ve heard the opinion that the dedicated backhaul required for every small cell installed will destroy the economic benefits that they bring in terms of offload. What’s your view?
The answer to that question depends is very much driven by local market considerations. There are multiple backhaul technology options available at different cost per gigabyte and with different operational issues. The fact that small cells may not require a ‘five nine’ carrier grade mark may also relax some pressure on the business case. Finally, operator capability to monetise some of the business cases listed above will play a role.
The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
Practical difficulties in obtaining planning rights will severely limit the practical use of small in the real world? To what extent do you fear this will be true?
The reality is that small cells only improve mobile experience if you place them in close proximity to subscribers trying to access the network. Whether operators have experience with street-level site acquisition and/or aesthetics is a question. Negotiation, approvals, and fees vary between councils and regions but we have seen some local councils making deals with operators for street furniture. Other interesting street-level issues also emerge such as that power to street lamps is shut off at seven AM in most cities, and no operator would enjoy a small cell blackout every morning. And once the small cell is fixed onto a lamp post, climbing that lamp post every time a fault occurs becomes cumbersome for a technician. Site planning will be key.
Why is the LTE World Summit such an important show for you to attend?
As fixed and mobile service providers for both residential and business segments, LTE plays a key role for our businesses, and not only mobile. This summit is also the place to get a flavour of what your peers are doing, the good and the not so good. Finally, you will probably be exposed to the latest 5G labs testing happening worldwide!