Small Cell Forum and European seaports collaborate to scope sector requirements and improve cellular connectivity

SCF and Europe’s ports to develop technical blueprints to speed rollout of improved cellular connectivity and private cellular networks

London, UK 14th January 2021 – Small Cell Forum (SCF) today released the first in a series of requirements reports that will inform the development of technical blueprints to speed the delivery of robust cellular connectivity for seaports.

SCF logo

SCF logo

The document sets out a framework of connectivity requirements from 12 European ports and ports organizations, including commercial drivers and perceived challenges to digital transformation.

The document brings together inputs from senior port representatives, summarizing commercial ambitions and operational imperatives, development plans, tenant connectivity requirements and examples of digital projects and private network trials already underway.

This document builds on SCF235 Private networks and small cells. This earlier document concluded that private networking technology is a significant opportunity for service providers and their enterprise customers, enabling new business models and tailored services. It allows businesses to integrate diverse sensors, machines, people, vehicles and more across a wide range of applications and usage scenarios.

This earlier work described how many larger ports were already benefiting from private cellular networks with small cells and the 5G technologies currently in trials. SCF’s initiative to develop connectivity blueprints aims to avoid reinventing the wheel for every port, speeding and cutting the costs of deployments and establishing a scalable model that addresses the baseline cellular connectivity requirements for ports of all sizes.

Art King, IBN Technologies for Corning Optical Communications, said: “Corning was delighted to co-lead this project. This paper is the first step in what we hope will be an ongoing engagement with seaports, where the focus is on a deep dive into the sector’s evolving business requirements and how these must be supported by 5G-Era technologies. Together with fellow members of the Small Cell Forum, we thank the participating seaports for their warm welcome and look forward to supporting their development.”

Richard Kennedy, Small Cell Forum’s Chief Operations Officer said: “It is clear digital transformation is an inevitable part of the future of ports and the industries and transport networks that serve them or use them. Our endgame here is to consider the commonalities of current and future requirements and the extent to which a scalable, baseline blueprint for cellular connectivity can be developed for the sector that reduces the need to reinvent the wheel for each port, reduce costs and speed deployments.”

SCF will shortly be announcing the dates for a virtual workshop with ports representatives globally to discuss the paper’s findings, share best practice and establish a framework on which the technical blueprints can be built.

To find out more or download the full document please visit

About Small Cell Forum
Small Cell Forum develops the technical and commercial enablers to accelerate small cell adoption and drive wide-scale densification.

Broad roll-out of small cells will make high-grade mobile connectivity accessible and affordable for industries, enterprises and for rural and urban communities. That, in turn, will drive new business opportunities for a widening ecosystem of service providers.

Those service providers are central to our work program. Our operator members establish the requirements that drive the activities and outputs of our technical groups.

We have driven the standardization of key elements of small cell technology including Iuh, FAPI, nFAPI, SON, services APIs, TR-069 evolution and the enhancement of the X2 interface. These specifications enable an open, multi-vendor platform and lower barriers to densification for all stakeholders.

Today our members are driving solutions that include:

  • 5G Components, Products, Networks
  • Dis-aggregated 5G Small Cells
  • Planning, Management and Automation
  • 5G regulation & safety
  • Neutral Hosts & Multi-operator
  • Private and Public Network coexistence
  • Edge compute with Small Cell Blueprint
  • End-to-end orchestration

The Small Cell Forum Release Program has now established business cases and market drivers for all the main use cases, clarifying market needs and addressing barriers to deployment for residential, enterprise, rural & remote, and urban small cells. It has also established initiatives relating to both public and private (MNO) coordination. The Small Cell Forum Release Program website can be found here:

Media Contact
Richard Howson
+44 (0)7833 692 862

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