While small cell deployments are getting traction, the biggest barriers to entry is that the business models of such deployments can vary widely. Issues such as location, technology, permissions, power and backhaul vary greatly from one case to the next – and generally, no two cases are alike. Thusly, while the need is there, overcoming the physical and financial challenges to actually deploying the hardware and software is daunting.
However, there is a platform that is gaining popularity, across a plethora of ecosystems, called “anything as-a-service. (XaaS).” It started out with mostly software but is spreading across multiple platforms and technologies. Simply put, it is hosted services that manage the end-to-end XaaS solution, whatever it is. The host takes full responsibility for integration with 24×7 operations and maintenance.
Some models, such as software, are relatively easy to host over the Internet. Simply ink a deal for the cost of the service, and it can be accessed quickly and easily via the Internet. But hardware is a horse of a different color. Since hardware (such as a small cell site) has to have a physical presence somewhere (even if it is a small cell shared virtually by various entities), there are hard costs in the package. And, unlike software, hardware has many more limitations. So “servicing” things like small cells is a bit tougher.
But SCaaS has promise. The benefits to the carrier include:
• Elimination of CAPEX for purchase of gateway and RAN Management System.
• Reduced time to market as the small cell is already up and running in production.
• Increased network capacity wherever needed.
• Improved macro network QoS by offloading traffic.
So Ericsson is giving it a shot. Their model integrates a multicarrier small cell radio access network with an existing Wi-Fi network. The means this service can provide both traffic steering and Wi-Fi data offload. It’s claim to fame is that it can lower the TCO using radio coordination. This provides the ability to optimize user experience as well as to simplify asset management. I can see this catching on if the platform delivers what it promises.
Advances on the Regulatory Also Help Small Cells, DAS
The FCC has just finalized some new rules that will allow easier deployment of small cells and DAS. These rules remove some of the unnecessary regulatory burdens and procedures, thereby allowing wireless companies to realize quicker network builds and faster ROIs.
Many in the wireless industry applaud this step, because it shows that government entities and industry can work together to deploy wireless infrastructure while also protecting historic resources. What these rules do is to eliminate the historic preservation review for “small facility deployments” like small cells and DAS, if the deployments will not have any adv