At the recent TIP summit, Vodafone showed off a 5G OpenRAN small cell product called "CrowdCell" and declared it to be the first OpenRAN small cell in the world.
Open RAN, one of the plans of the TIP Alliance, is chaired by Vodafone. This plan aims to break the traditional black-box architecture of software and hardware integration of traditional base stations, make it open, software-based, and white-box to reduce equipment costs.
Vodafone introduced that CrowdCell is based on software-defined radio and uses x86 general-purpose processors.
It can be a separate base station and also supports the "Network in a box" solution, which integrates core network functions and base stations based on software programming.
CrowdCell is also an open and flexible platform that can flexibly expand hardware with different levels of computing power based on different performance requirements.
What type of small base station is this?
From the product introduction point of view, CrowdCell has several advantages:
• Can expand the coverage of macro stations and improve cell edge performance.
• No wired transmission connection required
• No site rental costs
• No need for operators to pay for electricity
Based on these characteristics, it is not difficult to find that CrowdCell should be positioned as a Femtocell.
Small Cells are mainly classified into Femtocell, Picocell, Microcell, and Metrocell according to the transmit power and coverage. Among them, Femtocell is commonly called "home base station" and is mainly deployed in home and business scenarios.
In other words, CrowdCell is a white box 5G home base station product.
But this Femtocell is different from the traditional Femtocell. The key difference is that it does not require a wired transmission connection.
This means that it uses wireless backhaul, like a 5G relay node.
This makes it easier to deploy indoors in homes and businesses. Users only need to place it on the windowsill and plug in the power to extend the 5G signal into the room and enjoy 5G high-speed Internet. More convenient than installing a Wi-Fi router.
For operators, not only are white box equipment cheaper, they also do not need to choose a site, do not need to rent a computer room, do not need engineering construction, and do not have to pay electricity costs, and properly solve the major problem of 5G indoor coverage!