The most compelling option involves the use of heterogeneous networks made up of Wi-Fi and small cell technologies. These HetNets can greatly
increase capacity in network hotspots, which are usually located around airports, convention centers, train stations, downtown metro areas, stadiums, etc. They
increase capacity through very high spectral reuse. In all other parts of the network, the normal macro cellular infrastructure enhanced with LTE can usually
be counted on to do the job.
The design principles in macro cellular networks are well known, but how do things change when designing for density? High spectral
reuse involves deploying large numbers of small radios in close proximity to each other. There are a host of issues that must be addressed if these deployments
are to be successful. This paper will take a look at the challenges associated with “designing for density”.
The Density Challenge
Most mobile networks are built to provide coverage, which entails making sure the user can pickup a wireless signal from almost any location. To be successful with these kinds of deployments it is best to use a
smaller number of very powerful base stations with antennas that are mounted high above ground.
They transmit in the licensed bands (lower the frequency the better) and can easily cover many tens of square kilometers. When designing for capacity, all the rules must change. It is best to use a large number of smaller radios deployed in close proximity to each other to get the necessary capacity.
These radios should be mounted close to the ground, and should use the higher frequency bands. It is also best to use low power technologies like Wi-Fi, so the signal doesn’t propagate too far.
When deploying APs in close proximity to each other use equipment with sophisticated interference mitigation technology. The Ruckus family of carrier
class APs, have proven to be very adept in handling these kinds of challenging environments, and the story just gets stronger with the introduction of the
ZoneFlex 7782-N Access Point. This is the world’s first outdoor AP with an integrated 30º narrow beam antenna. Let’s look in a bit more closely at what
makes Wi-Fi and Ruckus the right solution when network capacity is of paramount importance.
It all starts with spectrum
The normal practice when designing for coverage is to use lower frequencies, because they propagate much further then higher frequencies. These lower frequencies can also penetrate deep inside
buildings. The 700 MHz licensed bands are a great choice when coverage is the objective. When designing for capacity it is best to use higher frequencies and the unlicensed 5 GHz bands are
a great choice.
Signals in the 5 GHz band don’t propagate all that well and are easily absorbed by physical structures, both of which are very desirable qualities in high-density deployments. A central
tenant of high-density design is to constrain RF energy to a limited area so that other APs in close proximity will not see this as interference. When designing for density the limiting factor is
interference, whereas when designing for coverage the limiting factor is link budgets. In addition to the desirable propagation characteristics of the 5 GHz unlicensed bands,
there is also a great deal of available spectrum, and when designing for capacity there is no such thing as too much spectrum.
While the 5 GHz story is compelling, a major issue in the industry is its availability on devices. 5 GHz is now available on most high-end data centric devices including the new Apple iPhone, most Android
models, and of course tablets and laptops. Given the incredible value that is offered by the 5 GHz unlicensed bands, it is best to always deploy dualband 802.11n AP’s when designing for density. Most
Ruckus APs, including all the high-end indoor and outdoor models are 802.11n dual-band enabled.
Get A Quote!
Customer Story: Ghelamco Arena
Ghelamco Stadium is located in Gent, Belgium. It is the newest stadium in the country and home to the KAA Gent soccer club. Serving 20,000 fans at any event, the stadium was in need of reliable and fast Wi-Fi.
Customer Story: Dr Pepper Ballpark
Dr Pepper Ballpark is home to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. With the stadium designed and built before the advancement of Wi-Fi, the RoughRiders wanted a network in place to enhance the fan experience. Using the Ruckus solution consisting of indoor and outdoor access points, ICX switches and SPoT (location services), Dr Pepper Ballpark was able to increase its fan engagement.
Stadium Wi-Fi Gone Wild: Time Warner Cable Arena Case Study
Doug Sabo and Ronnie Bryant talk about the process of outfitting the Charlotte Arena (Time Warner Cable Arena) with Smart Wi-Fi prior to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Get A Quote!