Picocell: Improves Capacity and Coverage for Mobile Communication

Picoell is a wireless base station with extremely low output power designed to cover an extremely small area, such as one floor of an office building. In cellular networks, picocells are typically used to extend coverage to indoor areas where outdoor signals do not reach well, or to add network capacity in areas with very dense phone usage, such as train stations, airports or shopping malls.


Image source: http://www.letsgomobile.org

What are the applications of Picocell?

Network planners all over the world are discovering the power of picocells for delivering cost-effective coverage and capacity to hard-to-reach places. Its applications include:

1. Improved in-building Coverage

Due to use of special materials and a range of innovative construction techniques, public buildings, such as museums, visitor centers, airports and train stations are often susceptible to coverage problems. Picocells work well in these environments by providing coverage as well as increasing the network capacity.

2. Filling the network black spots:

Every network has black spots where coverage is minimal or non-existent. In areas with marginal coverage, service quality inside buildings can drop off sharply, resulting in call drop, ‘network busy’ signals, slow data rates and poor voice quality.

The traditional solution to in-building coverage problems has been the repeater. But today, planners aren’t so quick to turn to repeaters to fill black spots or penetrate buildings.

Operators originally deployed picocells as a “band aid” for coverage in these black spots.

3. Extending the Macro cell capability

Making capacity available to customers in densely populated area, during peak business hours with limited spectrum is one of the biggest challenges to all the operators across the world. . Subscribers are spending more time on the network doing new, more bandwidth-intensive activities

Simply adding new macro cells is an expensive affair. Picocells help maximize spectrum re-use, provide sufficient extra capacity to ensure that subscribers of premium rate data services get the better radio quality they need.

4. Satellite Based applications:

Picocell can provide wireless connectivity to isolated areas like rural places, marine , oil and gas company etc where there is no broadband connectivity for backhaul. In these circumstances,

Picocell is a viable solution having the satellite communications for backhaul.

What are the advantages of Picocell?

1. Picocell gives you fast and economical coverage solution to in building weak coverage problem.

2. They’re a great way to offer enterprise customers guaranteed capacity and service quality in their offices.

3. They provide cost-effective coverage solutions for deployments ranging from 10–1000 people and beyond.

4. They actually add capacity to your network instead of draining it away.

5. Reduce operating costs by using existing IP for backhaul.

6. They support fast data rates and high voice capacity.

7. They’re easy to integrate into any GSM network.

8. They’re quick and easy to install.

What are the disadvantages of PicoCell?

1. Picocells are a new element to introduce into your network. You may prefer not to have a new technology in there.

2. In some places, there may be no IP available for backhaul. But you can use satellite backhaul, too.

Who are the Picocell players?

ip.access is the leading vendor in the market in terms of market share of 2G picocells. ip.access as a dominating force in the 2G picocell market, where it is expected to remain relatively strong, especially in emerging markets. 2G picocells still make up the bulk of the picocells shipments in the world, although 3G picocells are expected to catch up soon. This will strengthen the company’s position in the picocell market, although it is seeing increasing competition from the likes of Huawei and ZTE.



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  1. […] the previous post we have discussed about a Picocell which is a small mobile base station used to improve in-building cellular coverage and […]

  2. GlenStef says:

    Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  3. Jessica says:

    Hmmm…good to find out, there were certainly some things which I had not thought of before.

  4. mahin says:

    hmmm nice technology….
    but m having one doubt…
    can i use one pico cell for multiple networks…???
    i mean if m having say four types of opeartors in one premises..then one pico cell is sufficient for them..??

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