A small cell is a single small antenna placed on existing utility poles or street lights along with small pole-mounted radios and other accessory equipment. Small cells on utility poles will typically consist of one 4-foot tall by 14-inch diameter antenna mounted on top of the pole and a number of small boxes consisting of radios, electric meter, a disconnect switch and a fiber box. Small cells on street light will typically consist of an antenna, similar to that of utility poles, mounted on top of the pole. Two small radio boxes may be placed on the pole further down, or within the base of the pole. Other equipment may also be placed within the base of the pole. Small cell facilities will help wireless service providers in meeting the continuously increasing demand for wireless services. The increased use of smart phones, tablets, health monitors and other wireless devices in every-day life relies on a robust wireless network. A small cell network will add capacity and improve in-building coverage in San Mateo neighborhoods. Also, small cell networks will improve voice quality, reliability and data speeds for San Mateo residents, businesses, first responders and visitors using the wireless networks.
A typical wireless facility on a pole consists of one or more antennas and one or more equipment boxes. To meet CPUC requirements, the antennas will be mounted either at the top of the pole. The equipment boxes will be attached to the pole, or in the case of new steel streetlight installations, potentially in the base of the pole itself. While every system varies, the equipment boxes typically include an electric meter, a disconnect switch, and computers to control the antennas. Some wireless facilities may also feature an equipment box, on the same pole or in a box near the pole, that contains batteries used to provide temporary emergency power to the facility in case of a power outage.