How do you design a small radio to fit the interiors of large spaces, yet powerful enough to meet future requirements for indoor radio capacity? This was the question we asked ourselves when we began to develop a solution to provide high-capacity radio for indoor environments.

Our aim was a solution to provide high-performance connectivity, in the increasingly demanding indoor radio environment. A solution designed with a simple installation process reusing existing building infrastructure, with an efficient way to deliver power, and a design that integrates well with outdoor solutions.

As usage shifts from traditional voice coverage to smartphone app coverage and high performance mobile broadband, indoor environments pose some challenges.

One such challenge is the near-far effect, which can substantially degrade uplink signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR) of the indoor node, possibly to the point where service outage occurs.

The large building segment requires tight coordination to handle the dynamic traffic situations that arise in complex indoor radio environments, like modern atrium buildings with open offices.

Adding new features through software upgrades, avoiding site visits as far as possible, is a key success factor. And to enable large-scale rollouts requires a substantial reduction in complexity of installation – reusing LAN cables is one key way of achieving this.

In this article, we highlight the challenges related to radio capacity and performance inside buildings, summarizing the main requirements to be successful in overcoming them and how our research has led to a novel indoor small cell solution.

Connecting the dots: small cells shape up for high-performance indoor radio

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