Why Small Cells?

Small cells are needed to meet growing demands. Check out this video to see how Small Cells help Verizon stay ahead of that demand.

Small Cell Solutions

Small Cells blend into a city’s landscape using existing infrastructure like street lights, traffic signals and utility poles. Small Cells use antennas and radios, and require power, cables, fiber and in some cases, cabinets.

More Information on Small Cells.

Find out how Verizon is connecting homes, businesses and communities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a small cell?

A small cell is just like the name implies. A small cell augments Verizon’s capacity in a given area. It consists of a radio, antenna, power and a fiber connection. Small cells are short range mobile cell sites used to complement larger macro cells (or cell towers). Small cells enable the Verizon network team to strategically add capacity to high traffic areas.

Why small cells?

Demand for wireless data services has nearly doubled over the last year, and is expected to grow 650% between 2013 and 2018 according to Cisco. It’s part of Verizon’s network strategy to provide reliable service and to stay ahead of this booming demand for wireless data. Small cell networks add capacity in small specific areas to improve in-building coverage, voice quality, reliability, and data speeds for local residents, businesses, first responders and visitors using the Verizon Wireless network.

How does it work?

A small cell uses small radios and antennas placed on various types of poles like utility poles, transit poles, street lights, signs and signal light poles. The coverage area can range from a few hundred feet to upwards of 1,000 ft. depending on topography, capacity needs, and more. This small focused footprint supports the latest technology enabled devices, allowing more consumers to do things like stream video or share photos on social media during events.

Where has Verizon deployed small cells?

Verizon first began adding small cells in late 2013 across the country to meet community needs.

Does this replace the need for macro cell sites?

For Verizon, small cells are part of a balanced approach to network capacity. Verizon will continue to add traditional macro cell sites, expand its wireless footprint for increased capacity and coverage, and will keep investing in the things that keep its network running, even during times of disaster – battery back-up, generators, mobile cell sites, and more.

Where will Verizon add small cells?

Verizon looks to add small cells in areas ranging from urban centers to residential communities where there is a need for extra capacity to serve customers to stay ahead of the demand for wireless data.

Are small cells subject to the same regulation as a traditional/macro cell site?

The approval process for small cells varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Verizon works hand-in-hand with each local jurisdiction on small cells placement including right-of-way regulations and more.

What about safety?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with numerous other federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has developed safety standards. The standards were developed by expert scientists and engineers after extensive reviews of the scientific literature related to radio frequency (RF) biological effects. The FCC explains that its standards “incorporate prudent margins of safety.” It explains further that “radio frequency emissions from antennas used for cellular and PCS transmissions result in exposure levels on the ground that are typically thousands of times below safety limits.” The FCC provides information about the safety of RF emissions from cellular base stations on its website at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html. In general, due to their small size, low wattage and limited coverage area, emissions from small cells are a small fraction of FCC-permitted levels in any publicly-accessible area.

Are small cells reviewed for compliance with FCC safety guidelines?

Yes. All small cells must comply with the same stringent standards by which macro communications sites are reviewed and regulated.