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HCL Technologies

Transforming Small Cells to Smart Cells

Transforming Small Cells to Smart Cells
Ajitesh Gupta - Senior Solution Director | August 8, 2019
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To address issues with data capacity, network efficiency, and performance, telco players have been deploying a low power, short range wireless transmission system called small cell for years. In 5G NR, 5G small cells will also operate at higher frequency bandwidth, such as 28GHz or 70GHz. Some of the non-traditional service providers are going to deploy small cells, because they already have fiber lines deployed and small cells will help them in improving their returns on fiber investment. Some of the vendors are trying to integrate other access media on Small Cell to have converged Small Cell with Wi-Fi or Microwave or additional IoT connectivity. Apart from ultra-high telco network densification, small cells will also face new categories of data for new 5G use cases in a larger volume. They might also find a new neighbor in the telco network ecosystem with 5G deployment. Depending on the different traditional and non-traditional service providers we talk to, we hear different small cell strategies. Some have initiatives on rural small cells, some are planning to deploy the technology in disaggregated forms, some are following Open RAN architecture, and some have small cells as a front haul strategy.

Engineering the intelligent connectred ecosystem

HCL solution is flexible to collect the Small Cell telemetry both offline and real time

No matter how the transformation journey shapes up for 5G small cells, it is likely to culminate in the form of small cell mushrooms with different architectures, interfaces, deployment methods, and use cases. Every telco would be crunching new revenue numbers, investments, and ongoing maintenance to justify the huge CapEx that we expect telco to spend. HCL has come out with a solution that would reduce the total cost of ownership by bringing efficiency in cell site planning, small cell integration, and ongoing maintenance by infusing intelligence in the network. The HCL Small Cell Analytic solution is developed with proprietary and open-source ML algorithms, to address different phases of small cell lifecycle management. The solution reduces the time to activate and integrate small cells with the network. It reduces time and error in site planning and validation by using its automation and ML framework along with ML algorithms. The solution automates drive test and configuration change activities. This HCL solution has a well-defined and proven ML-based workbench to identify issues with a matured data model. The solution leverages ML-based log analysis, recommendations, and KPI analysis engines to track, analyze, and resolve issues more efficiently.

The various transformation roadmaps in small cell technology adds up to the legacy challenges with variable cell sizes, signal reach, and interferences. The HCL Small Cell Analytic solution addresses the various capacity and coverage problems that a small cell may face. The solution will not only detect and notify the anomalous behavior of devices and traffic, but also prescribe and predict uncharacteristic performance of small cells through its AI/ML engine. The HCL solution’s flexibility allows both offline and real time collection of small cell telemetry. The key features of the Small Cell Analytic solution are:

  1. Small cell vendor-agnostic
  2. RCA identification engine
  3. Recommendation engine
  4. Scalable and deployable in a few days
  5. Customizable to align with network specific needs and variable data sources
  6. Optional, edge computing client, if the Small Cell vendor permits

The HCL engagement spans across a work flow with a telco service provider via a pilot by procuring the small cell data and demonstrating the quantifiable values of the analytics engine.

Pilot Goals

We can start showing the value at a few cell sites to begin with and then scale accordingly. HCL is committed to making the telco deployment seamless and optimized through other solutions IPs ranging from enterprise, access, core, and cloud infrastructure. HCL’s goals are to build telco-focused solutions to guarantee the SLAs, to boost spectrum capacity, and to enhance the customer experience.

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