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Does Cloud RAN/Network Virtualisation mean the end for Small Cells?

Brought to you by The Small Cell Group

Cloud RAN promises to squeeze the most out of available spectrum, achieving very high traffic density from fewer additional cellsites than using a Small Cell approach.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

The trade-off includes the need for dedicated fronthaul links, typically using dark fibre, which may involve long lead times and higher costs. This cutting-edge half-day event will examine these trade-offs, taking a close look at the fronthaul aspect, opportunities for network sharing and the economics involved.

With SDN/NFV and Cloud RAN proposed as mainstream architectures by several major industry players, this insightful Cambridge based event will discuss what impact this will have on the Small Cell industry and whether this means the end of the line or not.

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWSmallCell.

Agenda

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.

14:00

Registration and networking with refreshments

14:30

Introduction to Small Cell SIG from Simon Saunders, Real Wireless

14:40

Business drivers and trade-offs between Small Cells and RAN Virtualisation; David Chambers, Founder and Senior Analyst, ThinkSmallCell

Various RAN Virtualisation architectures have been proposed which balance benefits between spectral efficiency, backhaul/fronthaul and hardware platforms. David recaps the technical alternatives and shares insights into some of the deeper commercial drivers (and consequences) between them. Will virtualisation open up competition throughout the RAN or reinforce lock-in to mainstream vendors? What capabilities would be needed from backhaul/fronthaul technologies in support?

15:00

Q&A

15:05

Wireless fronthaul as a C-RAN enabler; Gael Derven, VP Partnership and Business Development, EBlink

The high throughput/low latency requirements for Cloud RAN would surely rule out most wireless fronthaul options. Gael dispels that myth and discusses how both Small Cells and Remote Radio Heads have a contribution to make in the context of Cloud RAN. He’ll also investigate the Total Cost of Ownership equation comparing wireless with wireline alternatives.

15:25

Q&A

15:30

Xinjie Yang, Product Manager, NEC Europe Ltd.

15:50

Q&A

15:55

Refreshments and networking

16:25

How can fixed network services evolve to support RAN Virtualisation?; Adrian Sharples, Group Strategy, British Telecommunications

Fixed network operators have long provided backhaul connections for mobile network operators, with many city centre sites now connected through Gigabit Ethernet. What services could (and should) they offer to MNOs in support of RAN Virtualisation, and why would these be more attractive the wireless or dark fibre alternatives?

16:45

Q&A

16:50

Connecting the urban metropolis with self-organising multipoint-to-multipoint wireless backhaul; Eric Wilson, Head of Business Development, Cambridge Communication Systems Ltd

Many wireless architectures and technologies have been proposed for urban small cell deployment. Steve explains why a more resilient and adaptable topology fits practical requirements, shares real-world experience from early deployments and discusses which of the RAN Virtualisation proposals are feasible with this technology.

17:10

Q&A

17:15

Panel session with all speakers chaired by SIG Champion, Simon Fletcher, NEC Telecom MODUS

17:45

Event closes

Speakers

David Chambers - Founder and Senior Analyst, ThinkSmallCell

David Chambers is Founder and Senior Analyst at ThinkSmallCell.com, an independent website which has tracked the evolution of small cells from their early femtocell origins. With both an engineering and marketing background, and a career spanning product management and marketing for several large telecom vendors, he has gained insight and experience by meeting with mobile operators worldwide. Well known throughout the small cell industry, David writes articles, white papers and presents at conferences on all aspects of the subject. Based in a firm belief that the only technical solution to meet strong data demand is rapid deployment of large numbers of small cells, David continues to be a strong advocate of their adoption whilst pointing out their technical and commercial constraints.

Gael Derven - VP Partnership and Business Development, EBlink

Adrian Sharples - Senior Wireless Research Manager, BT

Eric Wilson

Xinjie Yang - Product Manager, NEC Europe

SIG Champions

Simon Fletcher - CTO, Real Wireless

Simon joined Real Wireless in January 2016 as Chief Technology Officer, taking overall technical and innovation strategy responsibility across the company. He is a member of the UK5G AB, co-chair of the International WG, and member of the Climate WG. His long-standing association with the UK innovation eco-system through roles such as Director of mVCE and the Innovate-UK ICT-KTN brings a wealth of practical knowledge on open innovation to accelerate product and services delivery. Simon spent his formative years in telecoms infrastructure systems and product development. In NEC Corporation he played a key role in the formation of Joint Ventures for development of 3G and 4G products and established a core team that developed the first-generation of technology for 4G systems culminating in a Steering Board position in the LTE SAE Trials Initiative (LSTI). In recent times he has directed projects on future cities, the application 5G and IoT in industry verticals with an event horizon towards 2030. His long participation in Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and then directing Real Wireless engagement in H2020 and the 2016 NIC study on Future Comms infrastructure brings great foresight on a range of architectural evolutions underway in 5G architectures, in particular for Open RAN and Diversification. He is a CW Small Cell SIG Champion, and in February 2022 the Small Cell Forum (SCF) appointed Simon as their Chief Strategy Officer, drawing on 25 years direct industry experience and work as an advisor to governments, regulators and big business.

Caroline Gabriel - Research Director, Analysys Mason, Co-founder and Research Director, Rethink Technology Research

Caroline has been engaged in technology analysis, research and consulting for 30 years and since 2002, has been focused entirely on mobile and wireless. As co-founder and research director of Rethink Technology Research, Caroline has developed a significant research base and forecast methodology, based around deep contacts with mobile and converged operators round the world. This addresses critical issues and trends in mobile and wireless infrastructure, and particularly operator deployment intentions for 4G, 5G, small cells, Cloud-RAN and other technologies. She is also a senior contributor to Analysys Mason’s Next Generation Wireless research programme. She has led research and consulting projects with a wide range of clients, including mobile infrastructure vendors, large and start-up operators, regulators, trade bodies, government agencies and financial institutions. Her advice and forecasts have helped inform strategic decisions at a wide range of vendors, operators, start-ups and finance houses. Prior to setting up Rethink, Caroline held various executive positions at VNU Business Publishing BV, then Europe’s largest producer of technology related B2B reports and publications. She was the European content and research director, and was a member of the leadership team for VNU’s online business. She holds an MA from the University of Oxford.

Neil Piercy - AVP System Engineering, Mavenir

Neil has been developing base stations for various communications systems for over 30 years, during which time he has performed roles throughout the whole development lifecycle, as well as management roles. Neil joined Mavenir as part of the ip.access acquisition in Sep 2020, having been with ip.access since it was formed as a spin-off from TTP Com back in 2000. His specialist areas include security and networking, as well as a focus on all aspects of protocol design and implementation, and on system performance and simulation across GSM, UMTS, LTE and now NR small cell RAN equipment and systems. Now as AVP System Engineering he is responsible for the development and delivery of ip.access products, as part of the Mavenir group.

Simon Saunders - Visiting Professor, King's College London, Advisor, Real Wireless

Prof. Simon Saunders is an independent advisor and researcher with deep industry and academic background in communication systems technology and a burgeoning interest in the intersection between real and artificial neural systems, communication systems and music. He is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, telecoms advisor to DCMS and Trustee of the charity Music for All.

Simon is a specialist in the technology of wireless communications, with a technical and commercial background derived from senior appointments in both industry (including Google, Motorola and Philips), academia (University of Surrey, Trinity College Dublin) and regulation (Ofcom).

He founded the Small Cell Forum and chaired this industry association from 2007-12, growing membership to 150 companies and working with 3GPP to create the first standards for small cells. He acted as Director of Emerging & Online Technology for Ofcom, leading Ofcom’s Emerging Technology programme and creating their Online Tech team. At Google (2015-20), he worked with operators globally to enhance wireless connectivity via a range of advanced technology initiatives, combining wireless networks, artificial intelligence and network virtualisation. As co-founder and Director of Technology for independent wireless strategy advisory firm Real Wireless (2006-15), he was responsible for overall technical capability and direction, providing independent wireless expertise and advice to operators, regulators, technology and law firms and wireless users. In 2019 Simon organised the world’s first 5G music lesson on behalf of charity Music for All, led by famous musician Jamie Cullum.

He is an author of over 150 articles, books and book chapters, including a popular textbook on antennas and propagation. He has invented over 15 patented wireless technologies and served on technical advisory boards of several companies and universities.

Event Location

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Location info

Emmanuel College, St Andrews Street, Cambridge CB2 3AP

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