Virgin Media Business have announced that they've been trialling small cell mobile broadband in two major cities and on both accounts it's been a huge success.
The trials, taking place in Newcastle and Bristol, achieved speeds three times faster than current 3G speeds with the results being replicated both indoors and outdoors.
Small cells work over radio spectrum and deliver faster and more reliable connections than WiFi or 3G , which makes it perfect for providing internet in urban areas. The small-cells are mounted on street-lights and then connect to Virgin Media's fibre-optic network to provide internet to the surrounding areas.
The cells are also compatible with LTE, which makes them future proof. However, small cells are more a short term solution and when 4G rolls out across the UK they should become pretty redundant, apart from in the most built-up populated areas.
4G LTE is due to roll-out next month with EE initially launching the service and the other operators expected to follow in the middle of next year. Although in reality it'll take a long time for 4G to get anywhere near the current level of 3G coverage.
Small-cell technology is still in the very early stages and it'll be interesting to see how it developers in the next year. It's possible that it could still have a huge part to play in the future of mobile broadband, especially in businesses.
By Simon Thomas on 16th October, 2012