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Nokia says its F-Cell ‘revolutionizes’ small cell deployment


October 4, 2016  


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Nokia Bell Labs has announced what it has described as a breakthrough in small cell technology to “expedite the creation of the high capacity and low latency network that will form the digital fabric of the future for humans and machines.”

F-Cell” technology, the company said, eliminates the costly power and backhaul wires and fibers currently required for small cell installation to enable “drop and forget” small cell deployments anywhere.

Bell Labs recently demonstrated the world’s first drone-based delivery of an F-Cell to a Nokia office rooftop in Sunnyvale, Calif. The F-Cell wirelessly self-powered, self-configured and auto-connected to the network and instantly began to stream high-definition video, the company said.

‘Underlying the F-Cell breakthrough is a re-imagining of the network architecture to place key functional elements in optimum locations,” the company said.

“The F-cell architecture is comprised of a closed loop, 64-antenna massive MIMO system placed in a centralized location that is used to form eight beams to eight energy autonomous (solar powered) F-Cells, each of which has been redesigned to require minimum processing power so that the solar panel is no larger than the cell itself.

“In this way, F-Cell technology sustainably solves today’s small cell and backhaul cabling, deployment and expense challenges for service providers and enterprises.”

The architecture supports non-line-of-sight wireless networking in frequency division duplex (FDD) or time division duplex (TDD) mode, and the parallel operation of up to eight individual 20 MHz channels allowing for a system throughput rate of ~1Gbit/s over existing LTE networks. In future, this architecture will scale to enable up to tens of Gbit/s using higher spectral bandwidth, new spectral bands and a larger number antenna arrays.

“F-Cell is a key breakthrough in massively scalable and massively deployable technology that will allow networks to deliver seemingly infinite capacity, imperceptible latency and connectivity to trillions of things,” said Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs and Nokia chief technology officer.