Small Cells: Ideal for Smart City Applications
“Digital urbanism” is rapidly becoming a central pillar for urban planners, technology architects, developers, and transportation providers, as well as in public service provision. For the last two years the UK has been pushing its smart cities concept and testing applications in collaboration with vendors and is, consequently, becoming an innovative test bed for smart applications. City councils throughout the countries are considering new high-capacity wireless and optical networks to efficiently support a wider range of end-user’ needs. The smart cities of the future could offer ultra-low latency connectivity for driverless cars, kilobits per second connectivity for machine to machine sensors to monitor the health of citizens with long-term chronic conditions, hundred megabits per second for ultra high-definition TV broadcasts, video surveillance and terabits per second data transfers for collaborative research and development programs between global universities.
Universities, which are a good place to look for future trends, are pushing hard to become “mini cities” and are frequently early adopters of smart city technology. One such example of “mini cities” is the University of Bristol, Cambridge, where staff is adding the new public platforms with the assistance of several vendors, such as NEC and Cisco. With small cells these “mini cities” could be easily rescaled to larger ones as they can effectively satisfy the requirement of a carrier-grade, high- capacity transport network in the urban environment.
The smart city technology architecture when boosted by the small cells should be able to deliver the following benefits:
- Simplicity and availability. End-to-end IP, high bandwidth guarantees high service quality and relatively low maintenance.
- Security. IP security mechanisms ensure a highly robust and resilient system.
- Multiservice. Solutions should place equal importance on data, voice, video, and sensors.
- Technological scalability. The new architecture should be designed to handle the large number of connected “things.”
- Business scalability. Solution should offer “pay-per-use” opportunities to enhance granularity so that it can be scaled as budgets allow.
- Manageability. The end-to-end nature of the solution makes maintenance easier by enabling greater visibility into the infrastructure.
- Flexibility. The architecture allows city managers and citizens to utilize the same services and information for their specific needs.