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Stay Connected: Avoid Dropped Calls Indoors With Better Backhaul

Ever been on your mobile and lost your call – just because you moved into a stairwell or elevator or an underground parking lot? You probably have, and you’re not alone. We’re connected to our mobile devices all the time now. And “work” doesn’t just happen at the office. So if you’re running between meetings or into a carpark when you’re on a critical call, you need your mobile to keep up with you.

Some 70% of enterprises report poor in-building voice and data cellular coverage, and many large corporate clients are demanding better in-building service coverage and infrastructure. In general, mobile service providers (MSPs) are responding with gusto. Eager to retain the loyalty of these valuable corporate clients, they are installing small cells. About the size of a paperback, small cells work in 3G and 4G licensed spectrum and may have integrated Wi-Fi® access points.

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The solution may sound pretty straightforward, but as always, the devil is in the details. Indoor small cells must somehow be hooked back into the mobile network. Both indoor and outdoor small cell backhaul share the requirement to provide the right speed and quality for the mobile service offered. However, indoor deployments have some unique requirements: they must take into account, for example, how to provide power and synchronization distribution over the in-building infrastructure. All this must be done where the MSP does not own the facility.

Small cell aggregation and backhaul capability

Service providers need effective in-building aggregation networks tied into a capability to backhaul across the wide area back into the mobile network. The in-building small cell aggregation and backhaul network is often an extension of an installed macro backhaul network. It generally needs to have:

  • The flexibility to deliver any mobile service over any access with support for 3G,LTE and Wi-Fi® services with appropriate SLAs; choice of fiber, copper or microwave access; and backhaul equipment optimized for indoor and outdoor small cell locations
  • The scalability to support in-building small cell locations at higher densities and bandwidths; IP/MPLS for highly scalable and reliable backhaul network architectures and topologies
  • Simplified deployment and operations through a consistent approach to cell site backhaul provisioning regardless of access or location; end-to-end visibility and control to every cell site (indoor and outdoor) for streamlined OAM; and professional services to help plan, optimize and deploy small cell backhaul networks

Bottom line? With an effective in-building small cell backhaul network the workforce gets better coverage and fewer dropped calls or ‘frozen’ device screens – even in the depths of a building, in stairwells and in elevators – and the MSP strengthens its relationship with its valued corporate clients.

At Alcatel-Lucent we see this collaborative approach driving small cell and associated aggregation and backhaul build outs in a number of Tier 1 service providers. For insight into how we are doing it – take a look at our application note and visit our mobile backhaul solutions site.