Alcatel-Lucent is giving operators greater flexibility to build so-called ‘heterogeneous’ networks – highly efficient, multi-platform mobile ultra-broadband access systems – by adding the new compact metro cell outdoor (CMCO) family to its portfolio of small cells devices.

The innovative compact metro cell outdoor – currently being trialled with a number of operators around the globe - is 50 percent smaller than existing metro cells. This provides more options for the discrete creation of HetNets to improve coverage and capacity, including integrating the device into street furniture.

The CMCO family integrates the latest embedded baseband innovations, an LTE radio, higher power output and modular design options, including external antennas. It supports a greater number of active users and offers even more deployment flexibility. Their compact size also allows them to be wall-mounted and hidden from view, with just the antenna visible, and optimally placed to offer customers the highest service quality.

Operators can connect CMCO devices via backhaul into their wider network. In addition, the ability to bypass the embedded baseband unit (BBU) means they will also be able to connect via a Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) to a centralized BBU, managing multiple radios. This will allow them to smoothly evolve networks and leverage the efficiencies offered by a virtualized RAN architecture.

Mike Schabel, vice president of small cells in Alcatel-Lucent said, “By extending our small cell product family to include the compact metro cell outdoor, we are offering a solution that meets the needs of any operator in any location. The goal of this product was to enable operators to seamlessly and simply integrate the product inside of existing street furniture and simplify municipality zoning approvals. Our existing metro cells continues to help them with pole-mounting and wall-mounting applications, while we are expanding their deployment options with the compact metro cell outdoor.”