Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2016-2021: Moving toward the Cloud

iGR believes that outdoor small cells will be an integral part of mobile operator networks. However, the outdoor small cell market is still in the beginning stages of deployment. The main barriers have little to do with the technology itself and more to do with actual installation issues – power, backhaul, regulations, timelines, and overall cost.

The vast majority of the cost of an outdoor small cell is related to providing everything except the actual “small cell” – which iGR defines as either a metrocell, RRH deployed as a small cell or an outdoor DAS (oDAS). Definitions follow in the body of the report.

Accessible sites – actual, physical locations – are the scarcest resource with respect to small cell installation. There are only so many poles, building sides and roofs in a given area, and there is only so much useable space on them. Using that space comes at a premium.

In general, these various issues, among others, have conspired to slow down the deployment of small cells by U.S. operators. However, iGR believes that small cells – and many of them – are inevitable, particularly as carriers march quickly down the road to 5G. In short, the industry cannot meet the demand for mobile data without small cells.

In this market study, iGR presents a total addressable market forecast and an “actual” forecast for U.S. outdoor small cell nodes installed: metrocells, remote radio heads as small cells and outdoor DAS.

The assumptions underlying iGR’s outdoor small cell forecasts are explained in this market study. The forecasts are further based on iGR’s global connections forecast market study and iGR’s mobile data forecast market study, as well as iGR’s primary and secondary research, and various other sources.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is an outdoor small cell? What are metrocells, RRHs and oDAS?
  • Why do the mobile networks need outdoor small cells to meet bandwidth demand?
  • How do outdoor small cells fit into operators’ evolving networks?
  • What are the issues with deploying outdoor small cells in the U.S.? How do these issues impact the number of small cells in the market?
  • What are the differences between oDAS, metrocells and remote radio heads?
  • What is the role of CPRI with outdoor small cells?
  • Where are outdoor small cells most likely to be located? What’s their role?
  • How important is location to the effectiveness of an outdoor small cell?
  • What is the total addressable market in the U.S. for outdoor small cells?
  • How does the forecast for actual outdoor small cells deployments in the U.S. compare to the U.S. outdoor small cell total addressable market forecast?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Infrastructure OEMs
  • Small cell product and solution vendors
  • Backhaul service providers and equipment OEMs
  • Financial analysts and investors.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • Basic Mobile Operator Network Architecture
    • Devices
    • Wireless Spectrum
    • Cell Sites
    • Fronthaul & Backhaul
    • Mobile Network Core
  • Setting the Stage for Small Cells
    • Network “Pain Points”
    • Different Types of Small Cells
    • iGR’s Definitions of Small Cells
    • Hybrid Antenna System
    • DAS/Small Cell Architecture
    • Distributed Radio System
    • Neutral-Host DAS vs. Single Host DAS
    • Changing Nature of DAS
  • Outdoor Small Deployment Issues
    • Small Cell Deployment requirements
    • Regulatory considerations
    • Small Cell Installations
    • Locations for Small Cells
    • Small Cell Options: Backhaul & Fronthaul
    • Small Cell Deployment Issues
    • COMP
    • What is CPRI?
  • General Trends / Assumptions around Outdoor Small Cells
  • Outdoor Small Cells: TAM and Actual Deployments
    • Outdoor Small Cells: TAM Methodology
    • Methodology for Outdoor Small Cell – Actual Deployed Sites
  • Small Cell Vendor Profiles
    • Airspan Networks
    • Argela
    • Cisco
    • Commscope
    • Ericsson
    • Fujitsu Network Communications
    • Gemtek
    • Huawei
    • ip.access
    • Juni
    • NEC
    • Nokia Networks
    • Oracle
    • Quortus
    • Samsung Electronics
    • Sercomm
    • Sonus Networks
    • SpiderCloud Wireless
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
    • General
    • Device Types
    • Services
    • Network Technology
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Different Types of Small Cells, Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum
  • Table 2: Benefits of Neutral-Host DAS
  • Table 3: U.S. Outdoor Small Cells TAM, 2016-2021
  • Table 4: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cell Nodes, 2016-2021 (cumulative)
  • Table 5: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cells Nodes by Type, 2016-2021
  • Table 6: Summary of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM and Actual, 2016-2021

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2016-2021
  • Figure 1: Basic Components of Cellular Voice/Data Network
  • Figure 2: Typical Macrocell Site
  • Figure 3: Common Types of Cell Towers
  • Figure 4: Cell Site Backhaul Capabilities and Use Cases, Wired and Wireless
  • Figure 5: Overview of the EPC
  • Figure 6: Het-Net Overview
  • Figure 7: Basic DAS Configuration
  • Figure 8: DAS, BTS Hotels, and Remote Radio Heads
  • Figure 9: Types of DAS
  • Figure 10: 3GPP Approaches to Network Sharing
  • Figure 11: Possible Interference Sources in a Loaded Network
  • Figure 12: Overview of COMP
  • Figure 13: Example of Intercell Interference
  • Figure 14: Example of Coordinated Resource Blocks via ICIC
  • Figure 15: Blanking of subframes in eICIC
  • Figure 16: How Latency Adds Up
  • Figure 17: CPRI at the Macrocell and as Small Cell / CRAN
  • Figure 18: CPRI System & Interface Basics
  • Figure 19: Functional Split in CPRI, Version 1
  • Figure 20: Functional Split in CPRI, Version 2
  • Figure 21: Dimensioning CPRI Links
  • Figure 22: NGIF Diagram
  • Figure 23: Splitting the Processing
  • Figure 24: U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM, 2016-2021
  • Figure 25: U.S. Actual Outdoor Small Cell Nodes, 2016-2021 (cumulative)
  • Figure 26: Actual U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Deployments by Type, 2016-2021
  • Figure 27: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2016-2021
  • Figure 28: Comparison of U.S. Outdoor Small Cell TAM with Actuals, 2016-2021

For additional information on the U.S. Outdoor Small Cells Forecast, 2016-2021: Moving toward the Cloud market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.