Small cell wireless technology expands wireless coverage and increases cellular network capacity. Discreetly installed on existing public right-of-way infrastructure such as signs, streetlights, and telephone poles, small cell sites are designed to meet anticipated demands for cellular data and connectivity. As the name suggests, each small cell node is individually small, emits a lower energy, and covers a smaller area than a traditional cell site. By using smaller individual nodes, small cell networks increase cellular capacity and improve reception. Multiple small cell sites spread across a city or community deliver more network capacity and coverage than traditional cell towers by providing more access points to a carrier’s network. Faster and more reliable data connections are provided by increasing signal strength and reducing the distance between users and cellular infrastructure. By providing increased coverage and capacity, small cell increases access to things such as law enforcement and emergency services and unlocks future innovation such as the internet of things, smart communities, and self-driving vehicles.
Providing reliable access to cellular data is of increasing importance. In 2016, wireless users used a monthly average of 11 billion gigabytes of data; the equivalent of over 2 billion streaming HD movies. And this number is set to increase substantially over the next few years. By 2021, cellular data usage is expected to increase tenfold while representing approximately one-fifth of all internet traffic. Within the same time frame, North American wireless customers will become the largest monthly consumers of cellular data anywhere in the world. Demand for a reliable access to cellular service is only expected to increase. Over 75% of current homeowners prefer good cell service and over 55% take cell coverage into consideration when buying a home. Small cell is designed to keep up and supply many of these demands. For more information about projected cellular data usage, feel free to check out the links below.
All small cell sites are required to comply with the same stringent safety standards that govern large macro communication facilities. To ensure safety, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all wireless communication infrastructure, including small cell, to comply with radio frequency emissions limits and standards. Due to the small size, low wattage, and limited coverage, each small cell site typically generates radio emissions that are significantly below FCC emission limits. To ensure compliance and public safety, radio frequency studies are always conducted prior to and after construction.
Each small cell site must also comply with any local and state structural and building codes. Structural and engineering analysis is performed on each site prior to construction in order to verify the structural integrity of proposed location. Typically, each site is designed within a significant safety factor in order to ensure the safety and structural soundness of each site.
The CBR Group and out clients routinely work with local, state, and federal jurisdictions to ensure that all regulations are followed and public safety protected. Links to the FCC radio frequency guidelines and other useful information can be seen below.