Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization driving densification worldwide, has partnered with the Taiwanese Government’s Electric and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA) for the latest in its series of regional workshops and summits. The bodies held an inaugural event, entitled 4G and 5G Small Cells for Smart Cities, aimed at understanding and capturing specific requirements that different regions have for small cells, and to feed these into globally aligned frameworks. The two also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), strengthening the Forum’s ties to one of the world’s largest and most innovative centres of electronics manufacturing, with the potential to help drive small cells to greater scale and cost-effectiveness.
In a packed, engaging and interactive workshop, there were many lessons learned, and ideas exchanged, about the challenges and opportunities for dense 4G/5G networks to support smart cities in a technically advanced, urban environment such as Taipei. Some of the requirements were specific to Taiwan, but many reflected more universal concerns and needs, from scalable, readily deployable networks for 5G and mmWave, to the development of flexible platforms which can support the widest range of use cases and service providers on the future hyperdense smart city system. Some common themes emerged, including:
• the need to drive down cost and make the return on investment case clear, making very dense 5G networks a practicality
• the architectural decisions which need to be made to support 4G to 5G migration and coexistence, including the most appropriate functional splits in distributed or centralized networks
• the key importance of flexibility, supported by a virtualized 5G core and a software-driven strategy, so dense networks can be easily configured and reconfigured, and targeted towards different use cases
• the emergence of new options in spectrum, antenna design, backhaul and siting, to support dense, ubiquitous smart city networks
• the particularly complex challenge of smart cities, which are at the heart of many governments’ socio-economic programmes, but involve a wide variety of radio technologies, cell types and sizes, site and backhaul challenges, as well as many different stakeholders and applications
“Smart cities provide one of the most important use cases for 5G small cells, and Taiwan represents a perfect example of how this technology can help to transform cities and mobile network economics in an advanced urban nation,” said Richard Kennedy, COO of SCF. “We are delighted to have partnered with TEEMA to work together to help small cells fulfil their potential, adding the network density and capacity to provide the high-speed wireless services that smart cities require.”