To tackle the 1000× mobile data challenge, the research towards the 5th generation of mobile cellularnetworks is currently ongoing. One clear enabler toward substantially improved network area capacities is the increasing level of network densification at different layers of the overall heterogeneous radio access system. Ultra-dense deployments, or DenseNets, seek to take networkdensification to a whole new level, where extreme spatial reuse is deployed. This article looks into DenseNets from the perspectives of different deployment strategies, covering the densification of the classical macro layer, extremely dense indoor femto layer, as well as outdoor distributed antenna system (DAS), which can be dynamically configured as a single microcell or multiple independent microcells. Also, the potential of a new indoor-to-outdoor service provisioning paradigm is examined.
The different deployment solutions are analyzed from the network area spectral and network energy efficiency perspectives, with extreme densification levels, including both indoor and outdoor use scenarios. The obtained results indicate that dedicated indoor solutions with densely deployed femtocells are much more spectrum- and energy-efficient approaches to address the enormous indoor capacity demands compared to densifying the outdoor macro layer, when the systems are pushed to their capacity limits. Furthermore, the dynamic outdoor DAS concept offers an efficient and capacity-adaptive solution to provide outdoor capacity, on demand, in urban areas.