The Small Cell Forum, the independent industry and operator association
that supports small cell deployment worldwide, today announced its
intention to address virtualisation as part of its on-going Release
Network Function Virtualisation "NFV" is an industry initiative that
moves functions from specialised hardware to standard data centre
infrastructure. Virtualisation in the radio access network is often
referred to as Cloud-RAN and current approaches require 'ideal'
fronthaul networks that may limit their broader applicability to today's
diverse range of small cell deployments. This new initiative will
evaluate virtualisation options to understand the optimal approach to
apply to the small cell layer.
"Operators need to understand how small cells fit into the Cloud-RAN
story," said Sue Monahan, CEO of the Small Cell Forum. "We believe there
will be better ROI if operators can plan virtualisation across the
entire HetNet, including small cells, rather than as a separate
exercise. This work stream will consider the impact of such an approach
on everything from network architecture to the business case. We are now
inviting Forum members and the wider industry to get behind this
initiative and help shape the future of mobile networks through our
"Cloud-RAN and small cells have often been presented as alternatives,"
said Gordon Mansfield, Chair of Small Cell Forum. "We believe that
virtualisation techniques can be re-applied to small cell architectures.
This work will help ensure that in dense HetNets, small cells are fully
interworking with other platforms to crete the broadest pool of
capacity and most efficient use of shared resources."
A SlideShare detailing the objectives of the virtualisation work stream
is available to view here.
This follows a workshop discussion at Small Cell World Summit in London
where Forum members, delegates and industry analysts were invited to
discuss the potential of virtualisation, alongside plans for Release
Five that will tackle deployment of small cells in rural and remote
scenarios including disaster recovery, military installations as well as
verticals such as oil and gas, maritime, aviation and automotive.
- ENDS -
About the Small Cell Forum (SCF):
The Small Cell Forum (www.smallcellforum.org)
supports the wide-scale adoption of small cells. Small cells are
low-power wireless access points that operate in licensed spectrum, are
operator-managed and feature edge-based intelligence. They provide
improved cellular coverage, capacity and applications for homes and
enterprises as well as metropolitan and rural public spaces. They
include technologies variously described as femtocells, picocells,
microcells and metrocells. The Forum has in excess of 150 members
including 68 operators representing more than 3 billion mobile
subscribers - 46 per cent of the global total - as well as telecoms
hardware and software vendors, content providers and innovative
About the Release Program
Launched in February 2013 the Release program provides a comprehensive
set of technical and business documents to help deploy small cells in
the home, enterprise, rural and urban areas. Each release includes
detailed documents on key areas such as market drivers, business case,
and technology information including standards, operator lessons, and a
The Release Program is driven by the knowledge that more than 98% of
operators think small cells are essential to their future. Whilst
existing deployments have centred on almost 50 pioneering large
operators in developed markets, the Release Program aims to help every
type of operator from across the globe to roll out small cells.
In 2015, the Forum will publish Release Five, themed around small cells
for Rural & Remote deployments. View the roadmap here http://scf.io/doc/100
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