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5G Small Cells Basics | 5G Small Cell Types | Advantages,manufacturers

This page describes 5G Small Cells Basics including 5G Small Cell Types. It also mentions advantages of 5G Small Cells and their popular manufacturers.

As we know cellular networks use high power Base Stations (i.e. NBs) to cover larger distances in order to serve more number of users. 5G uses higher frequencies such as millimeter waves which gets blocked due to obstacles and as a result mobile users will not receive 5G signals behind such obstacles. Small Cells address this blocking problem.

What are 5G Small Cells

Network of 5G small cells

The 5G small cells are low power mini base stations spread across the region to be served. They are basically low power wireless APs (Access Points) which operate in licensed spectrum. They are managed by telecom operators. Due to their small sizes, they can be installed easily in indoor places and space constrained places also. Hence they help in improving the cellular coverage and to fill coverage holes.

Small cells are available throughout the region to be served and hence they maintain quality of the signal everywhere. Small cells receive the 5G signal from main NB and relay the same to users. When the user moves behind the obstacle, the cell phone automatically switches to mini Bas station i.e. small cell to keep the connection intact. This helps 5G users to avail uninterrupted 5G network coverage. The figure depicts the typical installed 5G network of small cells along with main 5G-NB (or 5G Base Station).

5G Small Cell Types

Following table mentions 5G Small cell types with their respective features. The table mentions deployment scenarios, number of users supported, power range and distance covered by these small cells.

5G Small Cell types Deployment Number of concurrent users Power range distance coverage
Femto cell It is primarily used in residences and enterprises 4 to 8 users (residence)
16 to 32 users (enterprise)
10 to 100 mW (Indoor)
0.2 to 1 Watt (Outdoor)
10s of meters
Pico cell Public areas such as indoors, outdoors, airports, malls, train stations 64 to 128 users 100 to 250 mW (Indoor)
1 to 5 Watt (Outdoor)
10s of meters
Micro cell Urban areas to fill macro coverage gaps 128 to 256 users 5 to 10 Watt (Outdoor) Few 100s of meters
Metro cell Urban areas to provide additional capacity > 250 users 10 to 20 Watt (Outdoor) 100s of meters
WiFi Residences, offices, enterprises < 50 users 20 to 100 mW (Indoor)
0.2 to 1 Watt (Outdoor)
Few 10s of meters

Advantages of 5G Small cells

Following are the benefits or advantages of 5G Small cells:
➨It improves coverage in the areas where signal is weak or not available due to blocking. This helps in serving indoor places as well as outdoor places behind obstacles with better service.
➨Due to above, small cells provide support for more number of users in 5G cellular network.
➨As small cells are closer to users, they experience faster data services due to lower latency.
➨Small cells consume less power due to low power operation.
➨Small cells are smaller in size and hence they are easy to install and handle.
➨It helps in offloading cellular traffic to serve users efficiently with better quality of signal.

5G Small Cells Manufacturers

Following are the manufacturers of 5G Small cells.
• Ericsson has introduced Radio Dot which is palm size small base station to provide indoor coverage. The product RBS 6402 is a pico cell which supports WCDMA, LTE and WiFi.
• Qualcomm is working with ITRI to develop 5G NR small cell products.
• Nokia has wide number of products to address small cells market for 4G and 5G technology based networks.
• Commscope offers small cell solutions to provide coverage in small and large offices at indoor areas for LTE network.
• Qorvo offers products based on various small cell types to have smooth transition of pre-5G/LTE-A Pro networks.

5G NR Numerology | 5G NR Terminology

5G NR Control channels | 5G NR Traffic Channels | 5G NR Reference Signals and sequences


This 5G tutorial also covers following sub topics on the 5G technology:
5G basic tutorial
5G Frequency Bands
5G millimeter wave tutorial
5G mm wave frame
5G millimeter wave channel sounding
Difference between 4G and 5G
5G testing and test equipments
5G network architecture
5G NR Physical layer
5G NR MAC layer
5G NR RLC layer
5G NR PDCP layer

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