Last week we blogged about the shutdown of 3G in the UK and the myths surrounding this phasing out of lower generation tech. If you’ve been concerned about the 4G coverage in your area, then this article might help to put your mind at rest a little bit.
Last week, EE announced that they had deployed 411 small cells around the UK. This is in addition to the 200 already deployed last year.
Small Cells to Boost Urban 4G Network
These small cells are different to masts, and are basically tiny base stations installed on buildings and street furniture.
The idea is that it will boost their 4G speed and coverage across their mobile broadband network.
They’ve claimed that these small cells will allow customers to access download speeds of up to 300Mbps. As always however, this figure should be taken with a pinch of salt. Download speeds are always subject to variability in many areas including:
- Mobile environment
- End-user devices
- Consumer demand
The new 4G small cells are carrying a huge 20TB (TeraBytes) of data traffic every day.
Whilst masts and larger base stations can transmit over large distances, these newly deployed small cells are designed to transmit over shorter distances and more limited coverage.
They are used for urban areas where mobile network access is likely to be busy – Like shopping centres, airports and ports.
Can Rural Networks Benefit from Small Cell Deployment?
Whilst these small cells are really useful for urban areas, they can also be really valuable for boosting network coverage in rural areas too.
Used in a similar way as in urban areas, the small cells would be deployed on things like lampposts, street kiosks and CCTV columns.
Working in just the same way as urban areas, these small cells in rural locations would also help boost 4G coverage.
How Have EE Chosen Where to Deploy 4G Small Cells?
In order for EE to identify the best locations to deploy their small cells, they use network analytics.
The small cells are built by Nokia and access both licensed and unlicensed spectrum bands. They harness 1800MHz and 2600MHz on the 2.6GHz band (licensed) as well as the unlicensed 5GHz spectrum bands.
Where Have EE Deployed New 4G Small Cells?
The deployment of 411 new 4G small cells has been rolled out to various locations across the UK. These include:
There will also be ‘seasonal hotspots’ to handle extra network traffic in popular UK holiday destinations. These include:
What Does EE Say About This New Deployment of 4G Small Cells?
James Hope, EE’s Director of Mobile Radio Access Networks, said:
“As demand for data continues to rise, small cells are becoming an increasingly integral part of our mobile network. Our partnership with Nokia ensures customers continue to benefit from our fastest 4G speeds even at the busiest times and in the most congested of locations, and we’re proud to pass another milestone in this project as we continue to invest in improving the UK’s best mobile network* up and down the country.”
What Does the Future Hold?
Good news! It seems like this latest deployment is only the beginning. According to EE, the plan is to deploy a hundred more small cells over the coming months.
These will be deployed both in cities with existing small cell infrastructure as well adding new towns and cities to the growing list.
Will Small Cells Be Used to Boost 5G Coverage?
EE also said that they would be doing a trial where small cells would be used to accommodate the 5G network.
Thankfully, Nokia’s AirScale portfolio can upgrade to 5G in a smooth and consistent manner.
Could 4G Mobile Broadband Work For Your Home or Business?
If your home or business premises struggles with more traditional forms of broadband and you’ve been considering 4G mobile broadband as your primary network then get in touch with our Wi-Fi experts today.
We are installers of permanent and temporary 4G Broadband throughout the county, for offices, homes, construction sites and events.
We look forward to speeding up your internet using 4G Broadband!