5G small cell deployments forecast to surge
Outdoor 5G small cell deployments are forecast to reach 13 million by 2027, according to research firm ABI Research.
The report says that telecom operators around the world are looking to upgrade their network capacity as 5G mobile traffic continues to surge, expected to grow at a compound rate of 63%.
The rise in 5G small cell interest comes as the availability for new macro cell sites is limited, as well as a limited number of 5G spectrums, although they will cost more according to ABI.
At the moment, macro cells have satisfied 5G capacity demands but they are expected to need support from small cells in the future.
“5G small cells complement macro cells, boosting network capacity and extending coverage in dense areas where signals are weak or unavailable. They also allow network operators to derive more value from their existing spectrums by exploiting them more efficiently,” commented Fei Liu, 5G and mobile network infrastructure analyst at ABI Research.
“Compared to the previous generation small cells, 5G small cells face more challenges in design and performance. 5G small cells need to be small and lighter while supporting larger bandwidths such as 100MHz and 200MHz,” Liu added.
5G small cell deployments are predicted to increase significantly around 2025, when network capacity on the C-band is expected to run out without additional spectrum or small cells.
Currently, enterprises and industry are already deploying 5G small cells for their private networks, and public bodies are also deploying private networks for the healthcare sector.
“5G small cells make use of the backhaul established for macro cells. Mobile network operators should start deploying 5G small cell at locations with backhaul already established,” Liu recommends.
5G small cells can work alongside macro cells, and self-organising networks help minimise risks from interferences between cells.
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