Serving special places with small cells and DAS

Brought to you by The Small Cell Group

Join us at this in-person Small Cell SIG event to hear from experts who have pushed back the design boundaries to create robust systems in iconic and overlooked venues using the latest in small cell, DAS and RF technologies.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

Railway tunnels and cuttings, underground railways, mines, oil rigs, lampposts, bus stops and stadiums. Small cells, and their more venerable cousin the DAS (Distributed Antenna System), are cropping up in all sorts of tricky-to-serve locations. They bring high quality public and private mobile service to places which really matter to their occupants, but which don’t get served via the traditional ‘colour by numbers’ approach to radio planning via macrocells.

But what are the engineering challenges to meeting these needs? How have the options for serving these special places changed over the years? How do you design systems to meet the needs? Can the engineering design process be made scalable and standardised, or does every system need to be hand crafted?  How do you span the needs of multiple operators and private network applications? How do you overcome deployment challenges like constrained space, limited access to busy and dangerous sites and tricky power and backhaul requirements? And how do you make the business case work?  We’ll be exploring all these issues and more via real-world case studies, hearing from the experts who have pushed back the design boundaries to create robust systems in iconic and overlooked venues using the latest in small cell, DAS and RF technologies.

Places are limited so please book early!

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


CW welcome by Mark Rayner, CEO


Introduction to Small Cell SIG by Small Cell SIG Champion


Andy Conway, Director of Solutions, Innovation & Technology, BAI Communications


Q & A


Connecting 22 Bishopsgate: Tom Bennett, CTO, Freshwave


Q & A


Refreshment break and networking


Andy McKinnon, Chief Commercial Officer, Ontix


Q & A


Panel discussion




Event close


Tom Bennett - CTO, Freshwave

Tom is a highly regarded technology leader, having held director-level positions across the telecoms industry in BT, EE and T-Mobile. He combines a deep technical understanding with a collaborative approach. Tom led BT's negotiations with the other mobile network operators and the government on the Shared Rural Network and was previously an Executive Director on the board of MBNL.

Andrew Conway - BAI Communications

Andrew Conway is Director of Solutions & Innovation at BAI Communications UK. BAI is a leading communications infrastructure provider that delivers neutral host solutions. Andrew is an industry expert in wireless cellular networks with three decades’ experience in designing next generation networks.

At BAI, Andrew was accountable for the technical solution proposal for the TfL project and more recently the Sunderland Smart City case. He describes his current role as bringing the possibility of innovative next generation technology to life, for everyone.

Andy is Chair of the Tech UK Communications Infrastructure & Services Council as well as an executive board member of the Small Cells Forum. Andrew’s core interests include the societal impact of mobile communications, shared infrastructure models and advocates the wider participation of women in the technology sector and young people exploring careers in STEM.

Andy McKinnon - Chief Commercial Officer, Ontix

Andy has a wealth of industry knowledge, insights and business modelling with over 30 years in IT and Communications. He has experience of large-scale, national & international voice and data solutions, primarily in the wireless space. Andy has worked at senior levels in Huawei, Nokia, Motorola and EDS alongside engagements such as a vice chairman role in the WCA and Welsh Broadband Stakeholders group – in an advisory capacity to Government.

SIG Champions

Simon Fletcher - CEO, 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.

Vicky Messer - VP Product Management, Picocom

Vicky Messer is VP of Product Management at Picocom with over 25 years of experience in the wireless industry. Vicky joined Picocom over 4 years ago and leads Product Management, Technical Marketing and partnership activities. Vicky also leads the Picocom Small Cell Forum (SCF) activities and joined the board member at Small Cell Forum (SCF). In recognition leading in multiple work items and a published papers, Vicky was awarded the SCF ‘Outstanding Individual Contribution to SCF award’ in 2020.

Vicky is a certified IET registration mentor, and currently mentors a local young female engineer. In May 2023 Vicky joined Industrial Advisory Board Bath University Electronics and Electrical Engineering and also won a SCF Industry Award 2023 for Women in Wireless.

Neil Piercy - Founder, Independent

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 the small cell specialist company, ip.access, when it was formed as a spin-off from TTP Com back in 2000, and stayed with the company for 23 years, during which time his roles varied from System Architect through to Head of Engineering. As a Systems Engineer covering software, hardware, and RF, he includes specialist areas such as security and networking, as well as a focus on all aspects of protocol design and implementation. He has analysed system performance and performed simulations across GSM, UMTS, LTE and NR small cell RAN equipment and systems. He is now a freelance telecoms Systems Engineering consultant.

Simon Saunders - Visiting Professor, King's College London

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

The XCHG, Floor 7, 22 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AJ

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