CCS deploy small-cell backhaul trial network on Cambridge lampposts

Wireless gold in Cambridge lampposts

A drive to dramatically enhance wireless connectivity in Cambridge UK and surrounding areas has been boosted by a small-cell microwave trial using technology from local business CCS.

The company has deployed a self-organising network of nodes designed for small cell backhaul on lampposts near Shire Hall – creating a live test bed for improved connectivity.

The ‘smart streets’ move has been backed by the County and City Councils and the Connecting Cambridgeshire team as one strand in a long-term campaign to harness innovation that will turn wireless ‘not spots’ into connectivity hotspots.

Connecting Cambridgeshire recently secured up to £5.2 million Urban Broadband funding from the Government for its Super Connected Cambridge plan to boost digital connectivity for businesses in Cambridge and the surrounding economic area.

This includes a project to improve high speed wireless. It will target wireless ‘not spots’ to increase coverage in and around the city. Wireless providers will be invited to tender for a concession as part of a procurement process starting later this year. The CCS trial network was deployed in one day and has been in place since early June.

CCS’ David Turner says mobile operators and service providers are campaigning to secure ‘golden lampposts’ – street furniture in prime positions to improve wireless connectivity.

Turner says: “The next generation Microwave network is providing CCS with a test and development platform located in a typical dense urban environment, and has demonstrated how the local street lighting infrastructure can be used to support future small-cell technologies designed to enhance wireless connectivity in and around the city.

“WiFi, 3G, and 4G LTE small-Cells which are typically deployed below rooftop level on street furniture and building walls allow operators to improve wireless coverage and deliver capacity in a more efficient way compared to traditional high power Macro cellular Base Stations.

“Wireless backhaul solutions for small cells such as CCS provide a cheaper and quicker alternative to fibre and leased lines. The initial network comprises a central node located on the rooftop of our offices at Mount Pleasant House, which serves units on lampposts around Castle Street (including a location outside the Cambridgeshire County Council offices at Shire Hall) and Shelly Row.”

CCS has developed a unique and intelligent microwave backhaul system to help address the explosive data demand experienced by mobile operators. The small-form factor units have a unique understanding of their radio deployment environment so Nodes can automatically connect to form a self-organising, self-healing network.

The CCS system is designed to be easy to deploy, maintain, and scale, without a need for radio alignment or frequency planning, to ensure small cells can be economically installed at street level in large volumes.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme team has supported the trial to show the potential for improving wireless coverage by helping the company to liaise with local authority planners, get the necessary permissions and enable access to lamp posts.

Noelle Godfrey, Connecting Cambridgeshire Programme Director, said: “The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme team welcomes this innovative trial which exemplifies the strength and depth of the Cambridge technology sector, which has a global reach. We hope this kind of technology solution will underpin opportunities to improve wireless connectivity in Cambridge and surrounding areas.”

CCS chairman Robert Sansom, added: “CCS appreciates the support of the County and City councils in allowing us to trial our innovative small-cell microwave backhaul solution.”

The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is led by Cambridgeshire County Council working in partnership with Peterborough City Council, BT and the Government body BDUK, with the support of district councils and partners in business, health and education.

You can follow progress by accessing the Connecting Cambridgeshire website at:

The original article can be found on the Business Weekly website:

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