Single-vendor hetnets superior says Ericsson

The benefits afforded by heterogenous network architectures in LTE could be compromised in multi-vendor environments, according to Ericsson’s product manager for LTE.

Joakim Sorelius told that “probably the largest contention” within the standardisation process for LTE is the debate over whether or not small cell overlays from one vendor in the macro domain of another could derive the same capacity gains as a single-vendor solution.

“There are some players that would like it very much if there was no difference,” he said. “But there’s quite a lot of evidence showing that the type of tight co-ordination that you need is done on such a small timescale that you really need to be within the same eNodeB to make it happen—preferably within the same base band HW board or between tightly coupled boards.”

Sorelius’ stance is hardly surprising given the size of Ericsson’s installed footprint and its desire to defend existing customer relationships.

But his comments highlight the difficulty that smaller vendors can have in selling to operators that are increasingly dependent on their leading network equipment providers.

The development of LTE needs to be pragmatic, Sorelius said, with the industry prioritising those solutions that offer the most substantial gains in network performance. “If we’re looking at a ten to twelve times increase in data traffic over the next few years then it’s not enough to introduce features that give you a ten per cent improvement.”

Many technologies are important for “testing, learning, proof points and bring the component industry forward,” he said. But the industry needs to coalesce around solutions that provide more dramatic, real-world improvements.

“Looking at what was being presented at MWC you’d believe that the future of the telecoms industry is vertical beam-forming or multiple antenna sites but, realistically, with these technologies you’re only looking at gains in terms of a few tens of percent,” he said.

“The motivation of players that do not have a very large footprint is to try to push these more esoteric advanced features as a differentiator.”

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

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