Advantages of Small Cells | Disadvantages of Small Cells

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Small Cells and its basics. It mentions benefits or advantages of Small Cells and drawbacks or disadvantages of Small Cells.

What are Small Cells ?

They are low power and short range wireless transmission systems used for indoor/outdoor applications to serve small geographical areas. These small cells possess all the features of conventional BSs (i.e. Base Stations). In addition, they offer higher data rate for individual subscribers.

They are introduced in 3GPP release 9 specifications. They are for high speed broadband and low latency applications in LTE-advanced and 5G NR deployments.

small cells Network

They are miniature base stations which break up a cell site into much smaller regions. Based on coverage range and capacity (i.e. number of users served) small cells are classified into femtocells, picocells and microcells. Femtocells provide extended coverage for residential and enterprise applications. Picocells are used for small enterprise applications to extend coverage and to deliver high data throughput. Microcells are used for smart cities and smart metro applications due to its high power and large coverage range.

Small cells are deployed in very dense populated urban areas such as sports venues, shopping centers, airports, railway stations and so on.

Benefits or advantages of Small Cells

Following are the benefits or advantages of Small Cells:
➨These cells extend the coverage of cellular mobile networks in indoor regions. This increases overall network capacity.
➨They are used to provide cellular services in the areas where cellular signals are either weak or not available.
➨Small cells are installed in densely populated user areas to provide service all the time.
➨Small cells are cheaper than conventional Base Stations.
➨Small cells make best use of the available frequency spectrum by re-using same frequencies within geographical area.
➨Small cells consume low power compare to conventional BSs.
➨It offloads the cellular traffic and consecutively boost the network efficiency.
➨Small cells are faster to deploy and easy to operate.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Small Cells

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Small Cells:
➨They serve shorter coverage range than conventional BSs.
➨They handle fewer simultaneous sessions of voice/data calls and internet browsing.
➨It requires more budget to deploy large number of small cells in the region.
➨They are expensive compare to relays and repeaters.
➨Some of the challenges include interference, resource management, backhaul, multi vendor SON & management etc.

Conclusion: Inspite of few challenges as mentioned above, small cells usage have been increased drastically across the globe due to increased overall network capacity at low power and many other benefits. Refer Femtocell vs Picocell vs Microcell for difference between femtocell, picocell and microcell.

LTE Tutorial related links

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


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