Is small-cell thinking changing the face of remote and rural coverage?

Brought to you by The Small Cell Group

A broadband experience for all regardless of geographic location is well established as a political mantra.

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About the event

As 700MHz spectrum comes onto the market, coverage and minimum data rate service conditions are being attached, and the band is being packaged as a Pioneer band for 5G.

However, pursuing coverage solution through the macro network architecture perpetuates existing and failing business models; fundamentally the economics are not changing.

For some time now innovations such as high altitude platforms, satellites, optimal clustering of small cell, neutral host, spectrum sharing have been trialled and are now delivering value in remote and rural deployments. What are the latest and maturing technology approaches and how are these approaches changing the economics?

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


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


Registration and networking with lunch


Introduction to Small Cell SIG from Bob Driver, CW


Welcome from event host, Bozidar Radunovic, Researcher, Microsoft Research


Leveraging the public cloud to provide affordable wireless connectivity; Bozidar Radunovic, Researcher, Microsoft Research

Affordable internet connectivity is still a big challenge. Less than half of the world population has access to the internet. Even in developed countries such as the US and the UK, more than 15% of the population does not have broadband connection at home. A large part of the problem is that in some cases the network infrastructure is too expensive for big telcos to address all the needs at an affordable price. Recent popularity of dynamic spectrum access has opened up an opportunity for small telcos and community groups to serve some of these needs through wireless access. In some cases, such as CBRS, this means leveraging LTE cellular technology. However, even when spectrum is available, building a cellular network requires considerable expertise and expensive appliances. Today, we will discuss what it takes to create an affordable cellular core network as a service in a public cloud and the technical challenges of the current core architecture. We will also present a novel architecture that addresses these challenges and requires only minimal modifications to the existing small cells.




Self-installed small cells for rural communities - Nokia Kuha solution; Enrico Nigra Gattinotta, GS Solution Architect – UK, NOKIA

This session will look at rural and remote communities’ connectivity challenges and solutions. Enrico will present the Nokia proposal to a sustainable community-based network to close the gap between the availability of new mobile technologies and services in urban areas and their availability in the rural-remote ones.




Rural Small Cells – Really Making a Difference; Neil Winrow, Director, Product Management, Programmes & Projects, ip.access

• An insight from the TUCAN3G project, which studied both the technical and socio-economic elements of introducing telephony and data services in isolated rural areas of developing countries (Peru) – based on small cells for access network, and a combination of WiLD, WiMAX and VSAT for backhaul
• The impact those services made on the communities they served, how new business models and regulation stimulate change, and what could be replicated in other regions in the world
• Beyond TUCAN3G - What we learned, and how we would do things differently today




Refreshments and networking


Connecting the unconnected – a qualitative analysis of using small cells to extend coverage in rural and remote locations; Julie Bradford, Wireless Expert, Real Wireless

In many rural and remote locations worldwide, the high cost of traditional macrocells outweighs the small subscriber numbers they extend service too. The lower cost and more rapid deployment of small cells compared with macrocells promise to provide a better cost per subscriber and positive business case in rural areas. However, does this map to how populations are distributed in reality? This talk will review the business drivers for rural small cells and include an analysis of providing coverage to real population distributions worldwide and the potential extension to coverage that small cells could bring.




Small-Cell on an Aerial Platform; Ayan Ghosh, “Droneman”, EE

Ayan’s presentation will focus on EE-BT’s innovation on enhancing coverage using small cell on aerial
platforms - drones and Helikite. The various use cases of small-cell aerial platforms will be shared along
with the latest developments on this front.




Panel session with all speakers chaired by David Chambers, ThinkSmallCell


Event Closes


Julie Bradford - Techno-economic assessment of wireless options and strategies, Real Wireless

Julie has worked in the wireless industry for over 15 years.  At Real Wireless, she is a thought leader in 5G business case analysis including understanding 5G use cases, quantifying (in financial terms) the operational and socio-economic benefits of 5G services and understanding network dimensioning and cost implications under 5G virtualised networks.

She has most recently led Real Wireless’ techno-economic analysis on the EC Horizon 2020 5G-MoNArch project.  Inspired by the project’s smart sea port testbed constructed by HPA, Nokia and DT in the Port of Hamburg, this analysis included quantifying the operational benefits of 5G to port authorities and other port users and the cost implications of delivering these industrial grade wireless services from existing mobile infrastructure via network slicing supported via the virtualised 5G-MoNArch network architecture.

Previously, Julie was Communications Engineer at QinetiQ UK, consultant at PA Consulting UK, and Senior Systems Engineer for Airvana UK. 

Ayan Ghosh - Technology Consultant, Ofcom

Ayan Ghosh is a Technology Consultant in Ofcom where he leads innovative 5G trials and Ofcom’s collaboration with CAA and DFT. Ayan has spent 17 years in the Telecoms industry having consulted for vendors like Motorola and Nokia, operators like EE/BT and system Integrators like Cellular Design Services/Red-M. Known in the industry as EE’s “Droneman”, he invented Airmast - a Disaster Recovery and Rural Coverage solution using drones and Helikites for which he won international awards. Ayan co-authored an IEEE 5G paper on in-cabin system along with Airbus and Ericsson for the airline industry. He was instrumental in rolling out the first 4G network in UK.  Ayan has also introduced companies like Unmanned Life, UVue and Voltserver to the Telecom industry in the UK. Ayan holds a Masters Degree in Computing Science from UMIST and a Bachelors Degree in IT. In his spare time he plays cricket for his local village club and rides his motorcycle in the Cotswold.

Enrico Nigra - Network Solution Architect, Nokia

Bozidar Radunovic - Researcher, Microsoft Research

Neil Winrow - VP Operations, Mavenir

SIG Champions

Simon Fletcher - CTO, Real Wireless

Simon joined Real Wireless in January 2016 as Chief Technology Officer, taking overall technical and technical strategy responsibility across the company. He has chaired various conference committees including the Cambridge Wireless Annual International Conference and is recognised as a regular speaker at industry events. He is a Small Cell SIG Champion. 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 the past 20 years working 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 5G-NORMA, 5G-MoNArch and the 2016 NIC study on Future Comms infrastructure brings great foresight on a range of architectural evolutions underway in 5G architectures.

Caroline Gabriel - 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 - Director of Emerging Technology, Ofcom

Simon is a specialist in the technology of wireless communications, with a technical and commercial background derived from senior appointments in both industry (including Philips and Motorola) and academia (University of Surrey). He is an adjunct professor at Trinity College Dublin and was Access Technology Principal at Google. As co-founder and Director of Technology for independent wireless strategy advisory firm Real Wireless, 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. Customers included Ofcom, Cisco, European Commission, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Inmarsat and many others. He is an author of over 150 articles, books and book chapters. He has acted as a consultant to companies including BAA, BBC, O2, Ofcom, BT, ntl, Mitsubishi and British Land and was CTO of Red-M and CEO of Cellular Design Services Ltd and has acted as an expert witness in legal proceedings in England and the US. Simon speaks and chairs a wide range of international conferences and training courses and has invented over 15 patented wireless technologies. Particular expertise includes in-building wireless systems, radiowave propagation prediction, smart antenna design and mobile system analysis. He has served on technical advisory boards of several companies, was Visiting Professor to the University of Surrey, member of the industrial advisory board at University College London, founding chairman of Small Cell Forum (formerly Femto Forum), which he chaired from 2007-12 and a member of the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board from 2007-14.

Event Location

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Location info

Microsoft Research Ltd, 21 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2FB

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