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3G/4G Small Cells
Semiconductors - Discretes
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Though not standardized, small cells may generally be recognized as low power, wireless access points that transmit less than 10W at the antenna. In practice, small cells can be very diverse. Some operate autonomously while others are either loosely or completely controlled by the network. There are also variations in output power and configuration to allow deployment indoors or out, and for different numbers of connected users. Given this diversity, equipment suppliers have attempted to categorize the available options. These categories have been named microcells, metrocells, picocells, and femtocells. Femtocells are the smallest type of small cell, and the namesake for "femtocell technology."
Although these categories are not well-defined, in general femtocells are used to improve coverage and capacity indoors. Residential femtocells typically have power output of about 20mW and cover a house with a small number of users; such as a family. Enterprise femtocells can be as much as 200mW, with the higher power providing a larger range and number of users; such as a small business or apartment building. Metrocells and picocells typically have power output of 1-10W and target outdoor and urban deployments; including parks, city centers, tunnels, stadiums, and even mass transit systems.
According to ABI Research, outdoor small cell units will grow at 53.8% CAGR to reach 9.3 million units by 2017. The fastest growing small cell class is the outdoor femtocells, which will grow at 81.5% CAGR to reach 1.5 million units and $5.4 billion by 2017.
For more detailed information on this application, please refer to the technical articles and design considerations found in the Technical Resources tab, including:
Linearity vs. Efficiency for Infrastructure Applications (334KB)
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