What is Small Cell Technology?

Have you ever heard of small cell technology in the telecommunications industry? If so, you may have wondered when it emerged and what it means, exactly.  Today we are going to break down the main aspects of small cell technology to help you better understand why everyone is talking about it.

What is small cell technology? Small cell technology consists of low-powered radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum with a range of 10 meters to 2 kilometers. This is in contrast to macrocells, which provide radio coverage served by a tower and have a range of over ten kilometers. If macrocells have such a wider range, you may wonder why small cells are coming into play. With the growth of mobile data traffic, carriers are offloading in order to improve capacity, coverage, and quality. These “mini cell towers” offer a more cost-effective way to meet the demands of the ever-growing wireless world.

Within small cell technology, there are several types of small cells with different range capabilities.  These include femtocells, picocells, and microcells:

A femtocell is a small, low-power cellular base station with a range of 10 meters.  The most common uses for femtocells are in homes and small businesses. A femtocell can typically support up to 4 active cell phones in a home and up to 16 in a business. They allow for the extension of service coverage indoors and other areas where access may be unavailable.  A femtocell is able to improve capacity, coverage, voice quality, and battery life.

A picocell is another small cellular base station that reaches a little further, approximately 200 meters.  It is most commonly used in a building like a mall, office or train station and provides coverage and capacity to areas difficult or expensive to reach.

Finally, a microcell is a cell in a mobile phone network served by a tower (similar to a macrocell) but it only covers a limited area up to 2 kilometers.  These areas would include hotels and large shopping centers.

Overall, small cell technology is relatively new but it is taking off.  We hope this blog helped to break down the basics!

Power Up for Football Season

It is almost football season and before we know it the leaves will start falling, the air will grow cooler, and we’ll be breaking out our favorite team’s jersey. With all of the excitement, people often overlook the things that make a football game run smoothly. Whether it is your Alma mater on a Saturday morning or the NFL on Monday nights, everyone is sure to cheer on their team of choice. If you plan on attending a football game this fall, take a good hard look around for the equipment that powers the event. We’re talking about the telecommunication equipment. Football stadiums are utilizing mobile cell towers, backup power systems, and generators to operate these large events.

Cells on wheels (COWs) are mobile cell towers that cell carriers often deploy to expand a wireless network in an area that is not covered.  While football stadiums are often near cell towers, they could be blocking the signal or it may just be overloaded by the mass amount of users. Thus, mobile COWs offer a quick set-up of a temporary cell tower to help provide uninterrupted wireless service to cell phone users. COWs can effectively double the capacity of a network at football stadiums, offering fans better reception and wider capabilities than in the past. Thus, people don’t drop calls when they are trying to track down their friends and texts are not delayed while sending picture messages of the game. These mobile cell towers are starting to spring up in stadiums across the country, providing a simple solution to wireless network demands.

In addition to COWs, generators serve a multitude of purposes during large football games. Generators are used to power outdoor needs such as speakers, lights, video equipment, and communication devices. While the stadium has its own utility power source, equipment that is used outdoors needs to be hooked up to generators for optimum use. Backup power systems and generators are also utilized by large stadiums as back-up if the utility power fails. If this happens, an automatic transfer switch will immediately transfer the power load from the utility to the backup generator. Thus, the stadium lights stay on, the scoreboard remains lit, and the safety of thousands of fans is kept intact.

Recent innovations have also led to the use of generators for mobile phone charging stations at football stadiums.  With all of these technological advances, fans can keep their phones on and working throughout the entire game.  So while you should recognize the importance of the telecom industry during your fall football games, don’t forget to put the phone away and cheer on your favorite team!


What You Need to Know About Decommissioning

The idea of removing your telecom equipment from a site seems pretty simple, but if you don’t trust a professional and full-service company to do the job, it can be a headache. There are actually quite a few facets to cell site decommissioning and some companies do not cover them all.  Lattice Communications offers all-inclusive decommissioning services for both single-site and multi-site jobs. We have a nation-wide presence and a multitude of options for the decommissioning of your site. Today’s blog will break down the many aspects of decommissioning so that you may see the importance of working with a company that does it all.

Whether you are looking to remove large telecom shelters and heavy industrial generators or dismantle tall towers or perimeter fencing, the job is serious and deserves expert service. Make sure that the company you choose to work with is willing to handle the entirety of your project.

To start out, a pre-project site analysis is necessary to understand what tools and procedures are needed for completion. Everything from site location to product size will be taken into account to determine what is necessary for effective project completion. This ensures that your site decommission is completed safely and efficiently. Lattice will remove any site in the contiguous 48 states regardless of geographical or logistical obstacles.

Once the analysis is completed, the project management team will determine a plan for removal.  The appropriate number of crew members will be assigned to the project, trucks and cranes will be hired for assistance, and a detailed schedule of removal will be disclosed to the customer. The team will also determine, according to your preferences, whether the site will be removed and taken elsewhere or if it will be demolished and disposed of. Lattice offers the option of buying your used telecommunication equipment for refurbishing and resale as well!

It is important that the company completing your decommission complies with local, state, and federal guidelines and regulations. This ensures the professional and physical safety of your company and the workers. Site decommission involves a lot of heavy lifting which is why your best bet is partnering with a company that is professional, reliable, and adheres to industry standards and safety regulations.

Overall, decommissioning your site can be a lot of work but full-service companies like Lattice can be your simple turnkey solution to completing the project professionally and efficiently.


Backup Power Systems: Keeping You Out Of the Dark

Many industries can benefit from investing in backup power systems. By doing so, your company can prevent money loss, time loss, and equipment damages. Typical backup power systems consist of a variety of parts that work together when the utility power has failed. While you may understand what a backup power system does, you may not know how it works. The process might seem complicated, but it is actually quite simple. Today, we are going to explain the parts of the backup power system, what they do, and how they work together to keep you out of the dark.

As soon as a power failure occurs, an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) transfers the electrical load from the failed utility power to the standby generator. This switch detects the outage and turns on automatically. The ATS is responsible for starting the backup generator and transferring the electrical load over until the generator reaches the appropriate voltage and frequency.

Meanwhile, the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) keeps the power on long enough for the generator to reach those necessary operating levels. UPS systems are vital in industries like hospitals, where they cannot afford flickering lights or split second power losses. Without a UPS, surgeons could be operating blindly and machines keeping people alive could shut down. Thus, UPS systems serve a very important role. In addition, the UPS consists of a series of batteries, which it relies on to run.

In order for the UPS process to function properly, a rectifier must convert the utility’s alternating current (AC), into an electrically compatible direct current (DC). This allows for the UPS to keep the power on until the generator is ready to take over. Once the utility power has been restored, the ATS will return the load and shut down the generator.

So, while a backup generator is great to have, a full backup power system ensures your company an automatic and seamless supply of power the second an outage occurs.