Nokia aiming to make small cells simpler with new tools, features

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Nokia Networks has boosted its small cells portfolio by launching a new deployment tool and new base stations to aid roll out.

Score, Site Certified for Overall Relative Efficiency, is a ratings tool that grades more than one million sites according to cost of deployment and network performance. The vendor claimed the tool could lead to 30 percent quicker deployments and a reduction by a fifth of total cost of ownership.

Nokia's new Flexi Zone Mini-Macro Base Station is roughly the same size as a small cell but delivers "macro-like RF power" of 2x20W. It said this opens up locations that were previously unsuitable for macro base station use to fill gaps in coverage.

The vendor has also introduced new features to its Flexi Zone Controller. It claimed Downlink Coordinated Scheduling and Uplink Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) can increase performance at the cell edge by up to 150 percent.

Another feature is automatic inter-cell interference management, which Nokia said could reduce deployment costs of indoor networks.

The vendor's Flexi Zone Multiband G2 base stations also feature integrated 80MHz LWA support, which allows operators to use licensed and unlicensed spectrum to offer data rates of more than 1GBps.

Finally, Nokia said its 2015 generation G2 indoor base station has been made multiband, allowing it to support up to three radio access technologies.

IHS analyst Stéphane Téral said: "Up to 90 percent of small cells' total cost of ownership may be attributed to deployment costs. Key challenges that operators face include site acquisition, network planning, HetNet co-existence and delivering exceptional service quality in increasingly dense deployments. Nokia is directly addressing these concerns with more capable base stations, advanced interference management, simpler indoor deployments and providing quick means for operators to choose optimal sites with innovations like SCORE."

Randy Cox, Head of Small Cells Product Management at Nokia, added: "We have a laser-like focus on driving network evolution towards ultra-dense, multi-connectivity HetNets that are easier to deploy and which can provide a differentiating customer experience for operators.

"With these innovations, we're bringing unprecedented RF power to extend the coverage capabilities of our Flexi Zone small cell solutions. This new SC product category will open up new ways for operators to use small cell technology to meet the growing coverage and capacity needs of their customers in urban, residential and rural areas."

Meanwhile, Nokia has entered a strategic partnership with virtual security vendor Clavister to integrate the latter's products into its NetGuard range.

Giuseppe Targia, Vice President of Business Unit Security and IoT at Nokia Networks, said: “An integration of virtual and physical security appliances under a common security management that supports the flexibility and the mobility of telco cloud applications is imperative. Clavister provides a virtualised security system, allowing separation and access control for virtual machines and virtual networks inside Cloud environments.”