CBRS and the Monster Under the Bed

August 1, 2017
Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.04.53 AM
Copyright: 123RF Banque d’images


Shared Spectrum strategies, like the USA Citizens Broadband Radio Service “CBRS”, generally will have incumbent usages within the spectrum that will be either technically accommodated or moved in the spectrum planning and implementation process. The accommodation process is to prevent negative effects on both the incumbents, and the new residents.

In the context of CBRS, the US Navy has radar systems that operate across a big part of Band 48. From this US Navy presentation:

The AN/SPN-43C Radar Set is an Air Search Radar (ASR) used for Aircraft Carrier and Amphibious Assault Ship Air Traffic Control, used on LHA, LHD, and CVN type ships.

Because these systems are woven into the electronic war fighting fabric of the US military, they will not be altered. But, the good news is CBRS enabled RAN equipment, as a new resident of the spectrum, is designed to avoid conflict with radars in coastal areas, and some inland areas where they may be used. There are identified coastal port areas in the CBRS spectrum plans that clearly identify where these radars are expected to regularly operate.

What’s the Monster Under the Bed? It’s this: the mis-information on these radars, and their “disastrous effects” have caused some in the RF planning community to think CBRS is not viable as a national strategy due to the risk of service outages when ships fitted with these radars arrive in a coastal port.

So, let’s grab our flashlight, peek under the bed, and hunt for the Monster. As part of the hunt, we’ll document radar technical capabilities, and shipboard operations.

Relevant technical capabilities:

  • Operating frequency range: 3500-3650 MHz
  • Transmission bandwidth: 6 MHz (Google presentation)
  • Operates at 10 Mhz increments across spectrum
  • At irregular intervals, will move to different frequency

Shipboard operations:

  • Radar is subject to mechanical wear (the antenna weighs 1.66 tons, and rotates at 15 RPM) so it’s idle when there are no flight operations
  • Flight operations, that require this radar to be active, will occur within range of coast
  • Radars will occasionally transmit in port as part of routine maintenance activity


With these technical and operational details defined, it’s apparent that things are not bleak for CBRS in coastal areas where naval radar systems will operate.

This is a brief comparison of spectrum of naval radar to CBRS:

  • Only 100 MHz of the 150 MHz assigned to CBRS overlaps with radar
  • When the radar operates in it’s lower 50 MHz range, it does not overlap CBRS
  • CBRS channels are 10MHz wide with PAL range of 3550-3650 MHz and GAA range of 3550-3700 MHz
  • GAA channels in 3650-3700 MHz range will not be disturbed by radar activity
  • PAL channels (3550-3650 MHz) completely overlap with radar range
  • The radar’s 1.6 MHz transmission bandwidth on a 10 MHz increment can result in an “incumbent protection event” affecting up to two CBRS channels

After chatting with a number of engineers about the above summary, it was explained that while up to two channels could be affected by each active radar, the Spectrum Access System “SAS”/ Environment Sensing Capability “ESC” does not just blanket move each Citizens Band Service Device “CBSD” (CBRS radio) to a different channel. The SAS/ESC does heavy lifting by determining appropriate individual changes for each CBSD that is in-scope for the incumbent protection event.

For CBSDs on impacted channels, the SAS will run interference calculations to determine how each one must be affected to protect the incumbent. The SAS could send commands to the CBSD to have it move to a different channel, or reduce its power. Or, the SAS could determine that no action is necessary. This implies that in a given port, many CBSD’s that are farther from the active radar or shielded from it behind other buildings will operate undisturbed even though they are occupying the same channel(s).

In summary, we think that the “Monster Under the Bed” of naval radar that has caused some angst for RF people disappears when we shine the light of decent information on it.

Sleep well, my friends.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kingart
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/Enterprise

Private LTE? What are you talking about???

July 18, 2017


Shared Spectrum strategies like the USA Citizens Broadband Radio Service “CBRS” unlock the pent up demand for Private LTE. CBRS reduces the barriers to entry for enterprises that, in the past, had a tough time accessing spectrum for private cellular.

So, why would anyone ever want to build Private LTE? Well, enterprises with wireless requirements for deterministic timing, controlled bandwidth, true mobility, long signal reach and privacy have not been able to meet them. The system architects in these enterprises view Private LTE operating in CBRS as the emergent ideal solution. We have witnessed that progressive enterprise IT architects envision their wireless ecosystem as a balanced diet of enterprise-owned Wi-Fi and LTE that can seamlessly satisfy the present and future needs of business applications.

As we move to the enterprise market from the mobile operator market, how each Private LTE system networks its radios together are front of mind for the enterprise. Enterprises are seeking Private LTE architectures that deploy like Wi-Fi and leverage the enterprise-wide Cat5e cabling and Ethernet/IP transport infrastructure in-place today.

We believe that SpiderCloud E-RAN is uniquely architected for maximum synergy with today’s enterprise networks, and their future directions. The other competing Radio Access Network “RAN” products that an enterprise can acquire to create their own Private LTE instance all have their own unique architectures that will fail the enterprise screening process in many ways.

What questions should responsible architects ask of Private LTE network vendors?

  • Is the network built on standard Ethernet/IP technology? If not, it requires the construction of another parallel infrastructure. Example: the network is proprietary technology or a DAS.
  • Can the network share the existing Ethernet/IP transport network? If not, it requires the construction of another parallel infrastructure. Example: If it uses CPRI over Ethernet. Sharing not possible due to massive traffic load generated on the Ethernet.
  • Is the network approved for connection to any mobile operators? Any IT application that plans to use the macro-cellular (outdoor) network, must be approved for a connection to the desired mobile operator. If the vendor cannot list any of the four Tier-1 USA mobile operators as approved for connection, that’s a problem.
  • Can the network be shared by Private LTE, and one or more mobile operators? CBRS spectrum can support multiple service providers, so make sure the network can!
  • Is network capacity added in common headend or just at the spot where it’s needed? Spot capacity is much lower cost than addition of a base station in the headend.

A network vendor that cannot answer yes to all five simple questions can still build out a Private LTE network for the enterprise.

But, it could mean:

  • Extra construction cost of parallel physical transport
  • Unplanned space and HVAC requirements in MDF/IDFs
  • Lack of agility in handling network expansion
  • Impossible to add connection to a mobile operator(s)
  • Capacity issues that are expensive to remedy

IF YOU ARE NOT IN AN ENTERPRISE IT ROLE, PLEASE SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH! As an enterprise architect in a multi-national, prior to joining SpiderCloud, I urge enterprise IT people who are researching the addition of Private LTE to their wireless ecosystem to get educated, and look before you leap. Cellular is a totally different universe than Wi-Fi, and you have to ask the right questions. Many vendors can make a sale and install a Private LTE system for you that won’t support your future needs. Failure to ask the right questions in researching the solution space, or in an RFP could result in your enterprise painting itself into the corner.

We have authored a comprehensive Private LTE white paper for enterprise IT application, network and telecom architect readers that explores business demands, vertical market applications, a CBRS primer and solution architecture overview. Get it now!

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kingart

Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/Enterprise

D2E Sales Arrives

June 20, 2017


Direct to Enterprise sales of small cell RAN systems, while not new, differ from legacy approaches such as Distributed Antenna Systems, aka DAS. In past posts, we have explored the advantages of both small cell capacity and the corporate swing back to a primary operator. Those two advantages and Direct to Enterprise “D2E” sales channels drove creation of SpiderCloud’s Frequency Agile LTE SCRN-220 Radio Node for the Enterprise RAN “E-RAN” platform.

In many early D2E conversations with enterprise VARs and enterprises, the complaint of the RAN being “locked-in” (the band cannot be altered) to a particular operator was raised. In enterprises that enjoy stable long-term relationships with their operators, lock-in is not an issue. They manage their primary operator via competitive RFP every four to five years to optimize pricing and business terms, but don’t change to a different primary operator. However, it became apparent that many enterprise IT/Telecom leaders we met with wanted an agile RAN for two main reasons:

  • They believe that they can negotiate a better contract with their primary operator because the small cell RAN can be re-configured for a new primary operator instead of replaced. This reduced switching cost enables the enterprise to bargain from a better position.
  • If IT/Procurement decides to switch primary operators, the small cell RAN supporting enterprise mobility will not become a stranded asset due to its inability to be re-configured. This type of finance issue can damage the business case.

SpiderCloud has addressed the need for frequency agility in the United States D2E market with the introduction of the Frequency Agile LTE SCRN-220 Radio Node. This breakthrough Radio Node is an enterprise-grade LTE small cell that can be software configured for the major USA bands supporting the four Tier-1 mobile operators. LTE Bands supported are 2 (1900 PCS), 25 (1900 Plus), 4 (AWS-1), 66 (AWS-3), 12 (700 A) & 13 (700 C) with channel widths of 5, 10, 15 and 20 Mhz.

In summary, SpiderCloud has created the Frequency Agile LTE small cell that satisfies the requirement for that agility to the E-RAN platform. By collaborating with our mobile operators and cutting edge enterprises, we continue to innovate both the E-RAN and the Go-To-Market model in the D2E space. At the end of the day, enterprise IT customers envision their wireless ecosystem as a balanced diet of enterprise-owned Wi-Fi and LTE that seamlessly satisfies the present and future needs of the broad spectrum (pun intended) of subscribers, from IT to non-technical business leaders.

Pro-tip: ask other small cell vendors who have approached you about software reconfiguring their radios for different bands. If they can’t do it, you should look elsewhere.

SCRN-220 Press Release

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/Enterprise


Lions and Tigers and LTE! Oh My!

February 21, 2017

SpiderCloud will be at Mobile World Congress next week. Here is a preview of what we will be discussing with customers, partners and industry analysts.


More LTE Capacity Where You Need It

It is no secret that SpiderCloud believes that one of the best ways to add capacity to mobile networks is to build LTE small cell networks inside buildings. When you move a thousand weekend shoppers to an indoor SpiderCloud network, you not only delight them, you free up the macro network to delight thousands of subscribers outdoors. Simple! Even better, enterprises and buildings want indoor cellular and welcome operators who are willing to provide it with open arms, especially operators that can offer an enterprise IT friendly SpiderCloud system. To prove it, we are heading to Barcelona with a chest full of case studies.

Operators that have experienced the ease of deployment and scalability of our system are now taking it into new applications. They are taking SpiderCloud E-RAN beyond offices to significant public venues like hospitals, hotels, universities and airports. These are venues where just a few years ago, the common wisdom was, “small cells will never satisfy the venue’s requirements.” They are also taking it to small buildings, like retail outlets and betting parlors – buildings that once were considered too small for our products.

And that is not all. In buildings where distributed antenna systems are still required (to support multiple operators, legacy technologies like GSM or CDMA, or public safety), SpiderCloud E-RAN is now being used as an alternative to pico and macro eNBs from Nokia and Ericsson. See recent story in RCR Wireless on how Verizon has asked its five DAS suppliers to partner with SpiderCloud. DAS companies finally have a low-cost, high-capacity, easy to deploy “signal source” that can help them sell more DAS systems to enterprises.

E-RAN – Now Starring Unlicensed Spectrum

We don’t plan to rest on our laurels anytime soon. At MWC 2017, we will be showcasing our new enterprise LTE small cell that aggregates licensed and unlicensed spectrum, using LTE-U and LAA. This new small cell, called SCRN-320, is first to integrate a Wi-Fi chipset that detects Wi-Fi preamble messages and informs Wi-Fi access points about its intent to use the channel. We have developed new SON technology to dynamically sense the Wi-Fi environment throughout the building, and use this information to centrally assign unlicensed channels to small cells. SpiderCloud E-RAN, now starring SCRN-320, may be the first and only system that can co-exist with ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks in large venues like shopping malls and airports, and deliver even more capacity where it is needed.

The Brave New World of Authorized Shared Spectrum

Globally, regulators are looking at ways to make underutilized spectrum available for mobile broadband while protecting the rights of incumbent users. The US FCC is leading the way by making 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band available for small cell deployment under a shared spectrum strategy called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), and we are actively investing in building products for this spectrum.

At MWC2017, we will show a live demo of our CBRS indoor small cells, operating as 3.5 GHz LTE-TDD. We will also explain how SpiderCloud’s Services Node connects to the Spectrum Access System (SAS) as Domain Proxy and use its enhanced SON capabilities to assign CBRS channels, boosting spectrum efficiency and performance. In addition, we will discuss a wide range of use cases for CBRS, from enterprise to outdoor, and single operator to neutral host.

A Pivotal Year Ahead for Small Cells

For small cells, the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!

After years of hype, enterprise LTE small cells are finally real. Leading operators have integrated them in their networks, and are actively deploying them. New use cases are emerging for small cells. New spectrum is becoming available for them, from unlicensed to authorized shared access. And the industry is inventing new ways to use this spectrum, from LTE-LAA to MulteFire. We are excited, and we will not be shy in saying so.


Speaking Engagements:

  • Tuesday at 9.30 am: Mike Gallagher, CEO, Interview with Mobile World Live TV
  • Tuesday at 12.15 pm: Art King, Director of Enterprise Services, panelist “Digital Enterprise & Employees” at MWC Conference in Hall 4, Auditorium
  • Tuesday at 3.20 pm: Amit Jain, VP Product Management, panelist “Business Opportunity for Cable Operators and Service Providers” at MWC Press Conference Room #1 in the Media Village. This is part of MulteFire event that runs from 2:00-4:00pm.

Glomo Awards:
SpiderCloud – USA National Rollout is nominated in Best Mobile Infrastructure Award category. Tuesday at 5.00 pm: Awards Ceremony in Hall 4, Auditorium 5. All are welcome to attend regardless of badge status.

If you’re attending MWC, we wish you success and fun in the controlled chaos.

Cheers from SpiderCloud Wireless!


Why enterprises should ask mobile operators for LTE-LAA small cells

December 19, 2016

As an enterprise IT manager, do you want to keep throwing bags of cash into upgrading and densifying your Wi-Fi networks? Everybody who enters your buildings today has a smartphone. When people cannot get good LTE service in the building, they look for Wi-Fi. Your building’s Wi-Fi network is great for their smartphones. Unfortunately, their smartphones are not great for your building’s Wi-Fi network.

Why? Because, Wi-Fi is not optimized for short packets, and most of the traffic from smart phones, whether it is Facebook updates or Snapchat messages, use short packets.  As a result, chatty smart phones crowd your network and contend with laptops for access, forcing you to upgrade and densify your Wi-Fi network. Add in voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and things get even worse. Cisco, for instance, recommends that one Wi-Fi access point is needed for every 16 VoWi-Fi calls.

Now, assume that you can get an LTE small cell system from an operator that has 40% market share. These LTE small cells are deployed over Ethernet, just like Wi-Fi access points. Each LTE small cell can cover almost 4 times the area of a Wi-Fi access point, and support 8 times as many smartphones as a Wi-Fi access point. So, adding a relatively small number of small cells from just one major operator can take 30-40% of smartphones off your Wi-Fi network. This reduction makes the difference between whether you need to upgrade your Wi-Fi network this year or not.

Since a small cell is supporting 64 to 128 active connections (yes, active), a small cell may sometimes struggle to provide very high data rates for someone who wants to sit back and watch a movie on their smartphone or tablet. In these cases, a Wi-Fi access point, with access to lots of unlicensed spectrum and a small number of subscribers, may be able to do better. The question then arises of how to seamlessly converge licensed and unlicensed spectrum to get the best of both worlds. The good news is that the LTE industry is fixing that, with LTE-U and LTE-LAA.

LTE-U and LTE-LAA are technologies that allow an LTE small cell to use unlicensed spectrum when needed. I have underlined “when needed” for a reason. Both LTE-U and LTE-LAA use the carrier’s licensed spectrum as the primary spectrum for wireless communication. All smartphones stay connected on the licensed band. Bursty communication, something that LTE is very good at handling, goes over the licensed band. Voice and emergency services (911) calls go over the licensed band. Web surfing happens on the licensed band. Only when users try to download something that the small cell cannot deliver over the licensed band, does it use the unlicensed spectrum. And when it does, the LTE small cell will do so in a fair manner.

So, if you are a Wi-Fi access point vendor, make sure that you fight LTE small cells tooth and nail. You owe it to your bosses and shareholders! But, if you are an enterprise IT manager, get yourself an LTE small cell system, make your users happy, and save yourself a bagful of moolah.

– Amit Jain, Vice President of Marketing & Product Management

Small Cells – Popular Beliefs are Challenged by Reality!

September 12, 2016

einsteinWhile at the Las Vegas airport, returning from CTIA Super Mobility, we were reflecting on many of the unexpected places where SpiderCloud is participating in rollouts of our Enterprise RAN system. The locations themselves are challenging a number of widely held popular beliefs about venue and customer acceptance of small cells in the wireless industry.

To share the context, there are a few small cells beliefs that permeate wireless thinking:

  1. Large venues and public institutions, like universities, must be multi-operator. Their Telecom/IT leadership won’t entertain alternatives.
  2. Where a venue is large enough that an operator’s business case to supply a base station for multi-operator DAS is positive, there is little room for small cells.
  3. Enterprises with mobile BYOD policies require multi-operator systems.

Where are we seeing challenges to these arise?

  • A number of Universities, after they have been successful with a pilot single building small cells deployment, have decided to partner with the operator who supplied the small cells to add more buildings to their improvement plans. Universities, in the past, have been very vocal about the need to support mobile devices for every student. The driver behind the decisions is that the expense, to the University, to fund multi-operator infrastructure has less priority than other areas competing for budgetary allocations.
  • Greenfield facilities that have no indoor cellular improvements in-place and are large enough to justify multi-operator are opting for small cells. The decision in balance is that implementing small cells from a single operator outweigh the multi-operator demands of the business due to cost, complexity and disruption associated with multi-operator construction activities. This is especially apparent in hospitals (infection control measures) and older buildings (asbestos abatement) where Ethernet and Wi-Fi infrastructures have already put in place structured cabling that can be used to deploy small cells without the complexity of opening walls or ceilings.
  • Enterprises with BYOD policies who have decided, at national or regional level, to deploy small cells from one operator to solve for the indoor coverage demands of employees and contractors. The twin driver behind the decisions are the expense to fund multi-operator infrastructure has less priority than other areas competing for budgetary allocations and, if an employee has coverage problems, they need to move to the operator who has invested in the enterprise. This approach leverages Apple and Google migration utilities that enable extremely fast and accurate moving of configuration and data between similar devices along with very attractive credits (US$650 as of this posting date) to offset employee liable hardware costs and termination fees.

Today’s downstream enterprise IT stakeholders who are making decisions for their operations and facilities are challenging the popular beliefs that shape our thinking about their business needs. IT leadership has realized that the mobile devices that their business demands are available from all the “business class” operators, and it’s more cost effective for them to request scalable small cells and partner with one primary operator.

In summary, budgetary pressures and the competitive nature of our market will continue to demand that we all question popular beliefs like enterprise IT is doing.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Pokémon GO NEEDS Systems Integrators!

August 1, 2016

We have a crisis level need to bring indoor cellular services to everyone. Situations like this (at 21 seconds the reporter is complaining about poor cellular signal) in the hallowed halls of the US State Department need to be addressed. Because 80% of usage is indoors nowadays, poor cellular service is a serious impediment to Pokémon GO, and ahem, business productivity.

As part of SpiderCloud’s efforts to address these critical concerns, we announced a Partner Program last week so the legions of Systems Integrators across the United States who have trained and experienced E-RAN personnel can be identified by both mobile operators and enterprises alike.

If you’re a Systems Integrator interested in joining our program, or are a mobile operator/enterprise IT person seeking qualified Systems Integrators, please go here.

So, make the indoor experience better for Pokémon GO, and business productivity with SpiderCloud.

Pro-tip: it is not wise to play Pokémon GO while seated in the front row of internationally covered press conferences. Pokémon Wiki

– Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Can You Find Me Now? E911 & VoLTE

July 11, 2016

emergencyOver 240 million 911 calls are made in the US each year. Before an emergency responder can help a caller, she must know where the caller is. This was relatively easy when people called 911 from fixed phones. But not today, when over 70% of 911 calls are made from mobile phones.

Going Mobile – Rules for Wireless 911

The FCC recognized the “can you find me now?” problem for wireless 911 in mid-90s, and issued wireless 911 rules that apply to operators with licensed spectrum:

  • Basic 911: Allow all 911 calls, even if the caller is not a subscriber
  • Phase I Enhanced 911 (E911): Provide PSAP with caller’s telephone number and location of base station used
  • Phase II E911: Provide PSAP with caller’s location, accurate within 50m to 300m based on location technology used

Operators could either use handset based location technology (i.e. GPS) or network based location technology to meet Phase II E911 requirements. When using a network based solution, they had to provide 100m accuracy for 67% of the calls, and 300m for 95% of the calls. When using handset based solutions, they had to provide 50m accuracy for 67% of the calls, and 150m for 95% of the calls.

New Rules – for the Great Indoors

Today, over 70% of mobile calls originate inside buildings. Neither GPS nor network-based location techniques optimized for the macro network work well inside buildings. So, if you make an emergency call from a building, you may be out of luck.

In February 2015, the United States FCC issued its “Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements – Fourth Report and Order” that asks major wireless services providers to provide (1)dispatchable location or (2) x/y location within 50 meters within the following time frames:

  • By 29 Jan 2017: 40% of all wireless 911 calls
  • By 29 Jan 2018: 50% of all wireless 911 calls
  • By 29 Jan 2020: 70% of all wireless 911 calls
  • By 29 Jan 2021: 80% of all wireless 911 calls

The FCC R&O has additional requirements on vertical location (“z-coordinate”) as well for cases where a dispatchable location is not available. The end goal of these requirements is to ensure that the person receiving emergency assistance receives timely help, and service providers should “view these requirements as a floor, not a ceiling”.

Meeting Indoor E911 requirements – with SpiderCloud

SpiderCloud’s E-RAN platform can help operators deliver dispatchable location for E911 calls today. Further, there are no handset dependencies, thus any VoLTE handset can place an E911 call to the PSAP servicing the call, and be located.

How is this done?

  • Every Radio Node is its own radiating element, and is provisioned as an individual ECGI with dispatchable location information of building, floor, and zone attached to it.
  • The PSAP receiving an E911 call queries a database to convert the ECGI to the dispatchable location.
  • Assuming a typical cell spacing of 100 feet, the First Responders are well inside the 50 meters (164 feet) FCC requirements.

SpiderCloud’s scalable Small Cells add unique and cost effective native capabilities to the E911 Public Safety environment for indoors where GPS does not function and alternative solutions can’t cost effectively add E911 to comply with FCC resolution demands. There is no need to rely on handsets in the x/y/z location determination process as dispatchable location is solely a network based function. And, most important, since each SpiderCloud small cell covers a relatively small area, the associated dispatchable location is more precise, and improves the speed at which an emergency responder can find the caller.

Safety Matters – and not just because the FCC demands it

Meeting E911 requirements helps operators differentiate their services from over-the-top (OTT) providers. The day is not far when Apple or Samsung give handset owners the option of picking the default dialer on their handsets. Subscribers could still continue to use Verizon or AT&T, or they could pick Whatsapp, Google Voice, or Facetime. Wireless service providers would need to offer a differentiated services package. Reliable 911 – outdoor and indoor – could be a key part of their offering.

– Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies
Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

– Amit Jain, Vice President of Marketing & Product Management

Enterprise RAN, So Easy a Caveman Can Do It

June 20, 2016

futurenetworkDid we get your attention?

We conclude our series with two major points:

  • As an industry, we must re-open the discussion on how indoor cellular is built by embracing the technologies that enterprises operate today.
  • Enterprises don’t want to acquire solutions that require construction of a parallel network. If we, as an industry, want to move to an enterprise funded model, winning solutions will cater to an enterprise-telecom network convergence.

To summarize our series on how we see indoor cellular being built, optimization can be achieved by leveraging every possible existing enterprise investment, with the high points as follows:

Physical Layer

  • Use the enterprise’s standards of Category 5e or better cable plant, patch panels and jumper cables to connect radios.

Telecommunications Room

  • Request from enterprise IT PoE+ VLAN on Ethernet switches.

Telecommunications Room Interconnection

  • By using an enterprise VLAN, nothing is required here.

Equipment Room

  • Use as little rackspace, power and HVAC resources as possible.


  • Shared IP backhaul may be a great method to manage ongoing Opex.

In conclusion, the benefits of small cells that integrate into the existing enterprise technology landscape include reduction in Capex and Opex and a faster time-to-service. They satisfy the voracious needs of today’s mobile employees in the enterprise while respecting the business imperatives of both enterprise IT and mobile operator communities.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Other posts from the Enterprise Deployment Series:

  1. Enterprise Deployment – Setting the Stage
  2. Enterprise Deployment – Ethernet and the Physical Layer
  3. Enterprise Deployment – Telecommunications Room
  4. Enterprise Deployment – Telecommunications Room Interconnection
  5. Enterprise Deployment – Equipment Room
  6. Enterprise Deployment – Backhaul
  7. Enterprise Deployment – Summary

Enterprise Deployment – On Offer, Free Backhaul (Well, Almost)!

June 7, 2016

In the prior installment of this series, we discussed the potential cost and logistics of the Equipment Room as part of improving cellular signal indoors. This post covers the final link in the chain to the mobile core, the backhaul. FYI, if you
are new to this series and want to get the most out of it, please start here, and read the posts in sequence.

FreeBackhual-GRAPHIC-BLOGSetting the Stage
According to one of our Tier-1 operators, Backhaul is the number two largest item behind Labor in their Opex budget. It is a cost that is actively managed and any creative approaches to reducing it, while not risking the Quality of Experience of their subscribers, matters.

With that thinking in mind, let’s dive in.

The traditional approach to networking indoor cellular systems to the mobile core, be it legacy technology (like an eNodeB or Picocell) or Enterprise Radio Access Network “E-RAN” use leased private network facilities.

Private Networks can be:

  • Dark fiber (mucho cost)
  • Metro Ethernet (urban cores)
  • Private IP-VPN (wider availability, MPLS technology)

A common characteristic of these transport networks is that they are highly deterministic and can be tightly controlled to insure optimal performance on the data path. As you probably know, LTE is very much an “end-to-end” architecture where IP packets from each traffic flow (e.g. common data, signaling, VoLTE) possess different priority markers. When a network is congested, these markers enable transport networks to prioritize time bounded flows, like VoLTE, over best effort flows, like common data.

You said “Free Backhaul.” How?

Well, it’s not free, but almost, because it’s using a service that is already in place. In the spirit of completely re-thinking existing approaches to delivering cellular, we suggest using a game changer like Internet for E-RAN backhaul.

In situations where the enterprise Internet link has excess capacity available and can serve as the path to the mobile core from the E-RAN, Internet is viable. This is very much the case in large enterprises and universities where 10Gbps Internet ports are commonly deployed and the actual consumption is less than the available port capacity. This excess capacity can now be used to carry traffic from LTE devices, at no additional cost to the enterprise or the operator.

Believe it or not, Internet based backhaul can actually be better than more expensive private IP backhaul. Why? Most subscribers judge the quality of LTE services based on the speeds they get. If an operator connects an E-RAN system to a 100 Mbps private circuit, then the maximum data rate that a subscriber will ever experience will be 100 Mbps. However, if an operator uses the enterprise’s 500 Mbps Internet Connection, then suddenly the peak rate that a subscriber experiences could go as high as 300 Mbps (on a dual-LTE system with Carrier Aggregation)

The other benefit of Internet is time-to-market. Operators invest a sizable chunk of money in building an indoor cellular system. Using enterprise Internet allows them to turn on these systems sooner and start getting a return on their investment – whether through acquiring new subscribers or offloading the macro network. And if, after three months, they are not happy with the enterprise Internet backhaul, they can always bring their own private IP backhaul.

Note that the operator is not compromising security by using Internet because of end-to-end encryption… from Services Node to the Security Gateway on the border of the core network.

And, of course, with Internet there is minor risk to the indoor subscribers due to occasional Internet last mile congestion. But, for most situations, a big enough last mile link will not congest to a point where lack of QoS controls would create visible problems.

It is also useful to consider that Internet connection sharing will have little net impact on the last mile (the link from Enterprise site to nearest supporting Internet POP). For enterprises that are off-loading their Wi-Fi network by moving mobiles to LTE, the Internet last mile usage remains unchanged because it’s the same traffic to/from Internet.

Finally, when future buying paths are considered, converging all IP traffic onto Internet path can improve the business case whether it’s for the mobile operator or enterprise IT.

Two examples to illustrate this:

  • Operator is providing E-RAN as a managed service. Shared IP connection to core network over Internet can eliminate private network Op-Ex costs and greatly improve the business case for investment.
  • Enterprise is buying E-RAN. Shared IP connection to core network over Internet eliminates private IP Op-Ex. If Internet upgrade is required, buyer gets far more Mbps/$ when buying Internet.

To recap, E-RAN is “enterprise IT friendly” by using:

  • Any available type of IP transport to the mobile core.
  • Seamless upgrade capability if operator or enterprise desires move from Internet to private IP.

In the next installment, we will summarize the end-to-end benefits of E-RAN to satisfy the voracious needs of today’s mobile employees in the enterprise.

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg
Visit our Enterprise IT site @ http://SpiderCloud.com/EInsider

Other posts from the Enterprise Deployment Series:

  1. Enterprise Deployment – Setting the Stage
  2. Enterprise Deployment – Ethernet and the Physical Layer
  3. Enterprise Deployment – Telecommunications Room
  4. Enterprise Deployment – Telecommunications Room Interconnection
  5. Enterprise Deployment – Equipment Room
  6. Enterprise Deployment – Backhaul
  7. Enterprise Deployment – Summary