Small cells ring in a change for mobile operators

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Small cells ring in a change for mobile operators

Amazon provides compute on demand.

The growth of small cell and femtocell mobile phone connectivity has created an opportunity for a small Canberra-based start-up to help network engineers optimise the power and coverage of mobile phone base stations.

According to Mark Reed, chief executive of InterfereX Communications, the shift towards having both fixed and femtocells poses significant challenges for telcos and telco engineers in optimising the function and coverage of the network.

“The fixed network can’t handle the massive increase in mobile broadband data,” said Reed. “So the telcos are implementing small cell or femtocells to deal with the growth in demand.”

Introducing these small cells fundamentally changes the nature of the network, shifting it into an access point architecture, he said.

The challenge for telcos and network engineers is to ensure these small cells are optimised for power and coverage.

InterfereX uses a cloud-based system, hosted on Amazon EC2, to analyse the network traffic and coverage from an access point.

Optimisation algorithms are then fed back into the cells, which are then configured accordingly.

“It’s meant to be as automatic as possible,” Reed said. “The reality is that the network topography is now too complex for engineers to deal with.”

InterfereX is a start-up spun out of NICTA’s Canberra operations. Reed said the company has already consulted with major telcos, however he said he was not at liberty to divulge their identities.

The company is seed funded via private investors, and last night won an Australian Computer Society Canberra ICT award for telecommunications.  

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