Cities will need 40 small cells per square kilometre by 2015: Actix

News

The number of cells required to meet the capacity demands of just one square kilometre of a busy city centre will increase to more than 40 by 2015, according to Actix, which predicts a radical and rapid change in mobile infrastructures to meet soaring data demand.

 

By 2015, a new micro and pico small cell layer will need to be added to existing inner city networks, which today typically comprise five to seven 3G macro cells serving one square kilometre. For a typical central business district this could see the number of cells rising from 20 to more than 160.

Based on insights from operator networks serving five cities, Actix predicts that mobile infrastructure will change dramatically in just three years: 

 

City RAN - 2012

City RAN - 2015

Total Traffic

Per square kilometre

300 GB+ per day

3000 GB+ per day

Hotspots

100m2 hotspots

Carry 30 GB+ mobile data per day

Carry 150 GB+ mobile data per day

Cell infrastructure

5-7 3G macro cells

2-3 carriers

5-7 3G & LTE macro cells

5-7 carriers

40+ pico and micro cells

Bill McHale, CEO at Actix, said: “In the next three years, mobile data is projected to grow by at least ten times, which is equal to 3,000 GB per square kilometre per day. Mobile operators are beginning to understand that small cells will be an essential part of the network to meet this soaring data demand and we will see the shape of RAN infrastructures changing rapidly as a result of micro and pico cells being added.

"From our work with operators it’s clear that traditional manual approaches to ensuring customer experience, targeting network capacity and managing multi-vendor networks cannot scale to meet this new mobile landscape.  Operators will need to make more effective use of customer insight, network analytics and multi-technology optimization to survive."

View infographic from Actix on changing nature of data demand and network architectures.