by Akoustis|July 16, 2021

Three Small Cell Tower Technologies Converge to Roll Out 5G and IoT

Handling high data rates for mobile broadband consumers and applications is at the forefront of what 5G technology is positioned to achieve. Modern data throughput requirements are already expansive, and the future will surely call for even greater data rates as data packets continue to increase in size.

To build a network capable of managing these needs in dense urban areas and indoor spaces, telecommunications providers are turning to small cell technology.

The Challenge of High Densities of Low-Speed, Low-Power Devices

In addition to increased data needs per device, the density of devices per geographic location is rising fast. Coupled with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other consumer tech, the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) means numerous low-speed, low-power devices require high-speed connections without the power to reach far away base stations.

Small cell towers are the ideal solution, allowing for the installation of base stations directly in the locations where demand lives.

Femtocells, Picocells and Microcells

Depending on needs for coverage radius, number of users serviced, and physical location (indoor/outdoor), one of three distinct small cell technologies can be employed for network offload and coverage extension.

  • Femtocells: A low-cost solution for residential and smaller enterprise-level indoor applications, femtocells provide coverage up to 165 ft. using just 100 mW for approximately a dozen users.
  • Picocells: Ideal for larger buildings that require greater data throughput in addition to extended coverage. Examples include hospitals, retail centers, factories, offices, schools, universities, or government facilities. Picocells use 250 mW to serve up to 64 users with a coverage radius over 800 ft. in both indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Microcells: A low-power (2 to 5 watt) outdoor base station offering coverage between 1,500 ft. and 1.5 miles, serving up to 200 simultaneous users. An additional distinction of microcells is that they provide microwave capabilities whereas femtocells and picocells are backhauled by wire/fiber only.

Building robust 5G networks will rely on the intelligent placement of all three small cell technologies, femtocells, picocells and microcells.

RF Filters for Infrastructure

Akoustis currently offers six acoustic filters for infrastructure applications, including RF, IF, and UAS versions, ranging from 3.3 GHz to 5.0 Ghz.