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Small cells & Wifi offloading

  • August 2015
  • -
  • IDATE

As mobile data proliferates so too does the demand for capacity and coverage.
Many options exist to cope with data surge. Small cell deployment and Wifi offloading are the main ones.
Small cells give the opportunity to come closer to the user and to offer a better coverage, indoors or outdoors at low cost.
Despite remaining technological hurdles, Wifi is a heavily deployed and cost-effective solution promoted by MNOs themselves for offloading, and by alternative players willing to eat into MNO revenues.

This report presents the state-of-the art of the small cell and Wifi opportunities to close the gap and highlights strategies at play. It also gives the flavour of future scenarios.

Table Of Contents

Small cells and Wifi offloading
Contents
1 Executive Summary 8
11 Options to support higher capacity in mobile networks 9
12 Wifi and Carrier Wifi role for mobile data traffic offloading 10
13 Small cells playing a more important role in MNO networks 11
14 Players' strategies 11
141 MNO strategies 11
142 Strategies from other players 12
143 Traffic and small cell traffic forecasts 13
2 Methodology and definitions 14
21 General methodology of IDATE's reports 14
22 Definitions 15
3 Options to support higher capacity in mobile networks 16
31 C-RAN (Cloud, Centralised or Collaborative) 16
311 Competing architectures 17
312 State of maturity 18
313 C-RAN deployments over the world 18
32 Macro cell network densification and other technical improvements 21
33 Impact of Outdoor DAS and Wifi 23
331 What is a DAS? 23
332 Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is a short-term option valid for large venues 24
333 DAS and Wifi 25
34 The spectrum issue 25
341 Acquiring new spectrum 25
342 Using innovative spectrum regimes 28
343 Aggregating spectrum across different bands 29
344 Using unlicensed spectrum (versus licensed spectrum) 29
35 LTE-U, LAA, LWA 30
351 LTE-Unlicensed and LAA 31
352 LTE Wifi Access (LWA) initiatives 33
36 Other technical solutions 36
361 Samsung Download Booster and DSMIP 36
362 Aggregating more than five Carrier Components for increased throughputs 37
363 TDD LTE UL and DL Carrier Aggregation 38
4 Wifi and Carrier-Wifi role for mobile data traffic offloading 39
41 Understanding Wifi technology 39
411 Different technologies (from 80211b to 80211ac) 39
412 Wifi as an offloading technology 42
413 Roaming capabilities 45

Tables and Figures

Table 1: LTE population coverage in leading LTE countries (in terms of subscribers) 22
Table 2: Advantages and risks for LSA 28
Table 3: Wifi and mobile network characteristics 39
Table 4: Wifi generations 39
Table 5: The different ways to provide voice services 50
Table 6: Wifi-calling launches by MNOs 51
Table 7: Presentation of main small cell chipset players 58
Table 8: Consolidation of the small cell chipset market 59
Table 9: Advantages and drawbacks of capacity and coverage options for MNOs 61
Table 10: Small cell and Wifi current status and upcoming developments 61
Table 11: Selection of MNO/integrated players Wifi hotspots 72
Table 12: VoWifi/Wifi calling launches by MNOs 73
Table 13: Selection of MNO options 77
Table 14: Scratch Wireless cellular passes 78
Table 15: Republic Wireless cellular passes 78
Table 16: Selection of cablecos Wifi hotspots 79
Table 17: Small cell vendors positioning 83
Table 18: Wifi and small cells - current status and coming developments 84
***
Figure 1: The evolution from distributed RAN to C-RAN 17
Figure 2: Capex and opex reduction in a C-RAN trial with TD-SCMA 19
Figure 3: Presentation of DOCOMO's Advanced C-RAN concept aggregating both small and macro cell 19
Figure 4: SK Telecom LTE fronthaul and backhaul architecture 20
Figure 5: KT Cloud RAN solution 21
Figure 6: Example of a DAS system 23
Figure 7: Boingo DAS deployments in the US, as of end 2014 25
Figure 8: Price of premium 4G spectrum 26
Figure 9: LTE-U, LAA, LWA timeline 30
Figure 10: The Licensed-Assisted Access principles 31
Figure 11: The Licensed-Assisted Access study item work plan (Ericsson) 32
Figure 12: LTE-Wifi aggregation principle 34
Figure 13: Comparison between simple LTE-A carrier aggregation, LTE-U and LWA (LTE-H) 34
Figure 14: Qualcomm initial presentation on LWA 35
Figure 15: Samsung Download Booster Wifi - LTE Aggregation technology 37
Figure 16: Demonstration of five Carrier Components aggregation at Mobile World Congress 2015 by KT 37
Figure 17: Demonstration of Upload and Download carrier aggregation in TDD mode by KT 38
Figure 18: Wifi evolution path 40
Figure 19: Passpoint - seamless 3G/4G/Wifi roaming 43
Figure 20: Hotspot 20 Release 2 components 44
Figure 21: Phases of development of Hotspot 20 45
Figure 22: Wifi roaming, Advantage-risk diagram 47
Figure 23: Cellular and Wifi traffic in France, Germany, Italy and UK 48
Figure 24: WorldandYou brings unlimited calling and messaging abroad to Bouygues customers 49
Figure 25: Evolution of Wifi calling 50
Figure 26: Cost advantage of Wifi deployment in small cell environment 52

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