07 December 2017
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Sprint and T-Mobile US have announced plans to improve access to their networks using dense arrays of small cells across the US.
T-Mobile was first off the mark by announcing plans to
deploy 28,000 small cells. Now Sprint says it has a solution to
turn Cisco WiFi units into small cells for 4G mobile
"This innovative LTE small cell literally clips onto existing
Cisco WiFi infrastructure and can be deployed in less than 30
minutes, providing a very cost-effective way to rapidly improve
indoor service," said Robert Kingsley, director of small cell
and WiFi development at Sprint.
Speaking yesterday at the SCWS Americas – formerly
Small Cells World Series – conference in San Jose,
California, he added: "We’re excited to keep
expanding our toolbox of small cell solutions with this latest
innovation for the enterprise."
T-Mobile’s announcement a few days before came
from Karri Kuoppamaki, the former Nokia executive who is now
vice president of technology development and strategy. Speaking
at the Next-Gen Wireless Networks Summit in Dallas, Texas, he
said small cells were T-Mobile’s plan to reduce
dependence on large-scale towers.
The figure of 28,000 appears to refer to short-term deployments
and the target should be achieved by early 2018, according to
reports of Kuoppamaki’s speech.
Kuoppamaki said that "the best way" to deploy small cells is
"to partner with fibre providers", which will install the cells
and connect them to their fibre networks. "That is a very
efficient way to actually get to the point when you go from
having a few to having tens of thousands in the network," he
Sprint, T-Mobile’s great rival for the third and
fourth positions in a US market dominated by AT&T and
Verizon, said it was using a solution from Corning subsidiary
SpiderCloud. The operator is mainly looking for a solution for
enterprise networks: a company will be able to deploy
SpiderCloud LTE radio nodes on its local area network,
connected to a SpiderCloud services node, also on the
Sprint said: "A network of 100 radio nodes and one services
node can provide over a gigabit of capacity and seamless
coverage across a public venue, enterprise or university campus
as large as 1.5 million square feet [140,000 square