Small Cell Forum seeks advice from large enterprises

Service providers, enterprises to work together on small cell deployment direction

The carrier-led Small Cell Forum has revealed the names of the founding members of an Enterprise Advisory Council designed to help address the need for more wireless coverage to meet rising demand.

The Forum — whose members include the likes of AT&T, Cisco and Huawei —had previously said it was forming such a council, but had not disclosed any member organization names. It also had said it was working with hotels and others in the hospitality industry to plot strategies for boosting cellular coverage to meet the needs of their customers (an industry, by the way, that hasn't always been very hospitable when it comes to wireless service, as seen in the Wi-Fi blocking schemes of some).

The  Enterprise Advisory Council founding members are commercial real estate services advisers Camden Living and CBRE, General Motors, Grange Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, Marriott International, Texas A&M University and WeWork, a global shared office provider.

Through the Forum, the Council will work with service providers and technology providers to create hyperdense wireless networks using low-powered small cells (i.e., femtocells, picocells, etc.) that work indoors and outdoors and boast a range from about 32 feet to more than 1,000. The market for small cell technology is expected to see grow a compound annual growth rate of nearly 19% between now and 2021, according to market watcher Technavio.

The Forum and Council will also focus on the integration of small cells, which are being deployed for today's 4G networks and paving the way for 5G ones, with Wi-Fi and other wireless options. Even as small cell technology is improving and become more popular, Wi-Fi is being made faster and new options such as CBRS-based private LTE is being introduced to exploit newly freed-up spectrum.

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