Nokia refreshes small cell portfolio to aid 5G deployments

Nokia 5G
(Image credit: Nokia)

Nokia says new additions to its smart cell portfolio will make it easier for mobile operators to use their spectrum assets and boost indoor and outdoor 5G coverage.

In order to achieve the capacity, low-latency and reliability that the most revolutionary of 5G applications will require, operators will have to densify their networks with greater numbers of access points.

Base stations are impractical in urban areas because of a lack of space and the need to improve coverage in challenging, complex indoor environments that are difficult to penetrate with mid and high-level frequencies. This means microinfrastructure such as small cells will be essential.

Nokia 5G

Nokia’s new AirScale micro Remote Radio Heads (mRRH) are small enough so that operators have flexibility in deployment and also consume less power, improving the economics of network construction. Meanwhile, pico Remote Radio Head (pRRH) will boost indoor coverage by supporting a wider range of spectrum bands across 4G and 5G networks.

The company has also updated its millimetre Wave (mmWave) portfolio for sites that need extreme capacity, such as airports and football stadiums, so they are smaller and easier to install. Finally, a new femtocell product will allow consumers and SMBs to improve 4G and 5G coverage themselves.

Along with Ericsson and Huawei, Nokia is one of the ‘big three’ suppliers of Radio Access Network (RAN) technology to the industry. However, the company was surprised by the earlier-than-expected shift to 5G and has struggled with the high cost of developing 5G technologies.

It has since revised its strategy following an internal restructure and has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to be the market leader - even if that means sacrificing short-term profitability. It supplies many of the biggest operators in the UK, meaning any updates to its product portfolio have a direct benefit on the rollout and quality of British 5G networks.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.