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What is a Small Cell?

What is a Small Cell?

Small cells are fully featured, low-powered mobile phone base-stations that correlate with mobile phone service from larger macrocell towers. They range from compact residential femtocells that utilize standard internet broadband from a structured cabling contractor, to more substantial devices for commercial offices or outdoor public spaces. They are also a vital element of 3G and 4G/LTE radio technologies.

Integrated/Standalone Femtocells

Residential femtocell products have evolved to include features such as DSL modem, WiFi, and IPTV that all fits in a single box. In addition to standalones being used more frequently for residential purposes, larger enterprises and metrocells rely on their sturdier casing and weather resistance for use in open or unsupervised areas.

Single Networks

These devices don’t require WiFi/wireless network installation. Instead, they use licensed radio spectrum operated under the authority of a mobile phone company. Hence, it only works with the one mobile phone operator thereby encouraging all users in a particular business enterprise or household to switch to that network. With single networks, the mobile phone automatically detects when it’s range of the small cell and will use it over outdoor cellsites. Single networks offer all standard features, but the short range means the data services are quicker and more efficient.

High quality, low power

Small cells operate at a lower radio power than cordless phones, WiFi wireless network installations, and many other household devices, which increases battery life on standby and talktime. Call quality is excellent and data services are speedy because the small cell is so close to the handset or mobile.


A person’s access to a small cell can be restricted, most commonly by residential femtocell owners concerned about paying additional charges for DSL broadband. Because of this, many residential femtocells include a facility that restricts service up to 30 specified telephone numbers. Business enterprise use is generally unrestricted (but may prioritize its own phones), while metrocells are always completely accessible.

Self-regulating and secure

All sent and received voice and data gets encrypted by small cells, ensuring a superior level of protection against prying and hacking. They are also self-installing, adjust to frequency transmitting and power levels, and don’t require specialists or engineers for design or calibration, thus reducing operational costs and overall maintenance.

No special phones

No additional software is needed to enable phones to work with small cells: they’re compatible with current standard 3G mobile phones and work with all other phone models.

If you have questions about how small cells could benefit your home or business, call the experts at CTS. Our highly trained structured cabling contractors provide strong, reliable wireless network installations, expert distributed antenna systems, and comprehensive emergency communication systems. If you need a cable contractor in Tucson, or if you are interested in any one of our top-rated technology solutions, contact us online or call 877-685-2626.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 17th, 2013 at 1:26 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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