IDTechEx say 5G not only greatly improves network experiences for mobile consumers, but more importantly, will bring digitalisation into every industry, revolutionising our society. However, this vision will not be realised without small cell development.
IDTechEx have released “5G Small Cells 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets, Forecast”, a market research and business intelligence report exploring the key technical and industry factors that are shaping the fast-growing small cell market.
So, why do small cells play such a key role in the 5G era?
With two new frequency bands, sub-6 GHz (3–7 GHz) and mmWave (24–48 GHz), included in 5G, 5G provides much larger bandwidth, lower latency, higher reliability, and many more connections in comparison with previous generations of mobile networks. The benefit of 5G not only accelerates the growth of mobile consumer networks but also has huge potential to revolutionise industries such as automotive, entertainment, computing, and manufacturing.
However, IDTechEx say there are a series of challenges that need to be addressed before we can fully enjoy the benefits. One of the main challenges is the signal attenuation of high-frequency signals. This means that the signal propagation is much shorter compared to the previous cellular networks such as 3G and 4G. Small cells are proposed to address this big challenge. Creating an ultra-dense network by deploying more small cells plays a key role in 5G as it allows it to complement the macro network and therefore boosts data capacity.
IDTechEx believe that small cells can be categorised into three types: femtocells, picocells, and microcells, depending on their output power. Because of their smaller size compared to macro base stations, the material choices and the overall technology trend will be different from their macro infrastructure counterparts.