Feature Article

September 24, 2014

We're All Largely Dense When it Comes to Small Cells

In theory, small cells should make sense to me. Processing at the edge is happening, coverage is needed, and yet multi-carrier never seems to be the story that companies share with me. Back in the early days of Femto (a small, fully featured, low-powered cellular base station), I felt like the Femto crowd had time-traveled from somewhere before 1982 and the breakup of AT&T. Every conversation I had was like one controlled line with an expectation of total control. The reality was very different; even in countries where the PTT was privatized only a few years ago, few could claim 50 percent market share. So the use of a Femto that was on fiber from the same carrier was at best going to only hit a portion of the market. 

Then came the migration to “small cell” as the term and yet the conversation rarely was aimed at the realities of the subcontracted market. 

Speaking with Mike Collado, the VP of marketing at Solid, I was happy to have a conversation about DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) that fit into the market of multi-carrier interconnections and the deployments in place today that have been subbed out to regional and local companies. It’s not that carriers can’t build their own networks, but we have been in a phase beyond the field of dreams (“If you build it they will come”), to a stage of “they are on the network already and want more.”

But best of all, Solid has a DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) fiber interface that allows the deployments to share single strands. This makes the DAS far cheaper to deploy and suggests that right-of-way problems can be reduced. 

While no one wants to say that they won’t use a microwave, (except for the companies that claim to be all glass), the reality is that fiber wins as the core and the only thing that stops people from using it is right of way.

At CTIA, Solid announced it was being deployed in the New York City subway system. This is a great example of where multi-carrier support is the goal. From the press release, Seth Buechley, president of Solid North America said “We listened to the market, and the 5W DAS and CityDAS solutions were a direct result of addressing the unmet and underserved needs of wireless operators and venue owners for power, flexibility and packaging.”

And Bill Bayne the CEO of Transit Wireless put it this way: “Solid continues to innovate their products to adapt to our evolving market conditions within the New York City subway environment. We are deploying the Solid 5W solution to deliver just the right power, capacity and speed to meet the wireless demands and expectations of the ridership within the underground subway stations.”

Bottom line, Solid has chosen its name well, since it’s hard to argue with their economies and success.


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