A FORTE Small Cell System™ fills the gap in smaller properties that do not merit a DAS installation but are too large for standalone small cells available off-the-shelf from some of the U.S. operators. The FORTE Small Cell System employs enterprise-class small cells that have more power and capabilities than the standalone models. The fundamental components are the small cells, the Site Manager and the network used for interconnecting these components. The following sections explain each of these components in greater detail.
The FORTE Small Cell System uses individual small cells designed to be mounted on the ceiling or wall. Generating the cellular signal for each wireless operator requires a dedicated set of small cells for that specific operator. This configuration allows the property to decide which combination of the four operators they want to support and only the equipment necessary for that selection is installed. In the case where multiple operator coverage is desired, the necessary small cells are distributed throughout the space to protect the esthetics of the building.
Because small cells have more power and work at different frequencies than Wi-Fi access points, the number of small cells for each operator is far less than the number of Wi-Fi access points in most buildings. As a point of reference, the number of small cells necessary for a property is similar or less than the number of Wi-Fi access points needed to serve the same building.
At the core of the FORTE Small Cell System is the ClearSky Site Manager. It contains the intelligence to control and monitor the various small cells throughout the property. The Site Manager constantly monitors the FORTE Operations Center, simultaneously sending voice and data traffic through the appropriate cell and rapidly selecting the best serving cell for each user in the building.
The Site Manager also monitors the health and well-being of the small cells and reports issues back to the ClearSky Operations Center. ClearSky monitors the system performance 24 hours x 365 days per year.
FORTE Small Cell Systems require only a single public Internet connection. This can be a dedicated connection or we can share the bandwidth already available in the building, depending on the circumstances. The Site Manager creates VPNs through this single Internet connection, one for each of the wireless operators and one for the ClearSky Operations Center. These VPNs carry voice and data traffic for each of the operators in and out of the property.
The interconnection of the Site Manager with the small cells uses industry-standard CAT 5/6 cabling and Ethernet switches equipped with Power over Ethernet (PoE+). With only a single Ethernet cable to run, the lightweight small cells can be mounted on walls or ceiling tiles with simple screws or clips. Installations are very similar to installing Wi-Fi access points. The PoE+ feature eliminates the need for 120V wiring in the ceilings.