Hot zones are areas where people use data services heavily.
This can be any government campus or central business district, an airport, a shopping and office mall or a highly frequented pedestrian zone.
Finding sites close to Hot Zones and achieving good indoor signal levels is difficult.
Operators traditionally add capacity for hot zones by adding macro cells but getting suitable site locations is more difficult today. Signal strength quickly falls off indoors and towards the cell edge, so data rates drop quickly.
Mobile broadband internet
A lot of mobile broadband data traffic is to and from the internet, rather than to the operators’ own set of applications. With traditional network architecture, all traffic travels through expensive mobile backhaul and core network equipment before it reaches a mobile internet gateway. Maybe the traffic could go straight to the internet and avoid the expensive pipes?
A cluster of access points with a local controller spans a small-cells underlay
Low-power unobtrusive access points span a small-cell underlay network serving LTE devices. They are connected to and coordinated by a local controller through integrated wireless backhaul supporting licensed and unlicensed spectrum in non-line-of sight, point-to-point and mesh configurations.
Flexi Zones complement the macro network
Following local policy settings, the controller acts as an internet gateway offloading traffic viadigital subscriber lines (DSL), fiber (FTTx) or cable internet POP (point of presence). For every Flexi Zone handling up to a hundred access points, the macro network only sees one base station, minimizing the load on the mobile packet core and the operation and maintenance impact.And when capacity is about to run out, operators can just ‘drop’ a few more access points in the zone; the network will hardly notice but their subscribers will feel the difference.
Access points can run stand-alone or in group
Flexi Zone access points can also run as stand-alone pico eNodeBs in small hot spots. When hot spots grow into hot zones, stand-alone access points can be software-upgraded and a controller added to build a Flexi Zone.
In the comfort zone for planning, sharing, and operations
Access points support FDD and TDD LTE, and can add WiFi and 3G. Operators can share Flexi Zones to lower cost and reduce installations.The cluster automatically manages interferences, balances load, distributes resources, keeps nomadic users on the Flexi Zone layer, while handing off high-speed users to the macro cell layer. Indoors, the zone controller is powered over Ethernet.
Find out more here
This post is by Maik Braun from our Mobile Broadband team