In our last posting on Single Cell Architectures vs. Scalable Small Cells, we explored the importance of handovers between cells as a key component of scaling capacity. We’ll now review a project that set out to explore the claimed benefits of SpiderCloud Wireless E-RAN scalable small cells system in a live network setting and share the results.
Let’s setup the context of the project:
- Three-story building with installed LTE DAS system.
- About 200 employees per floor.
- No complaints of service or performance issues.
- Operator offered one floor to disable DAS and implement the E-RAN in its place to prove the viability of the technology.
In order to proceed with the project, a walk of the candidate floor was conducted to collect our baseline DAS performance data. For the overall floor, we measured an average of 23.9 Mbps on the LTE downlink.
The project proceeded forward by disabling the DAS infrastructure on the candidate floor, and replacing with an E-RAN. The system supported the LTE needs of the users on that floor for the trial period. Data and metrics were continuously collected so the overall system performance could be evaluated at end of the project.
At end of project, and before the DAS system was returned to service on the floor, a second walk of the floor was conducted to collect our E-RAN performance data. The same path and collection tool was used to re-survey for average throughput. For the overall floor, we measured an average of 60.9 Mbps on the LTE downlink. That is a 255% increase in average downlink rate based on the measured DAS downlink average of 23.9 Mbps.
Finally, the daily consumption data was collected and charted. Our operator was both surprised and pleased by the results. Why? The data consumption on the E-RAN equipped floor was 57% higher than with the DAS system. As the chart below illustrates, the single E-RAN floor was driving more traffic than the other two floors combined.
- Faster downlink performance increased data consumption by over 50%. Customer satisfaction with the performance improvement encouraged more usage by mobile owners.
- For mobile operators, increases in data consumption can either raise customer loyalty or translate into revenue.
- Just because a DAS system appears to be operating normally, there can be significant financial and performance improvements by replacing it with scalable small cells. For DAS owners planning for re-design driven by LTE needs, it is wise to consider adding scalable small cells alongside the legacy technology instead of making additional DAS capital investments.
– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies