Can a Small Cell System Handle All Enterprise Voice and Broadband Needs?

June 3, 2013

We think this is possible. We have been collecting 18-months of system performance data from the network deployments, and the data shows a 99.5% reliability. Performance metrics are collected by our SpiderNet system, a centralized configuration, fault, and performance management system that allows our customers to rapidly provision, deploy and monitor E-RAN deployments. Keep in mind two key metrics (KPI) for how macro cellular and Small Cell networks are measured by mobile operators:

  • Voice call set-up success rate (CCSR) must be at 98% or better
  • Voice call drop rate (CDR) to be less than 0.8%

The average performance data for voice call set-up success rate, voice and data sessions and handoffs events, were collected from scalable network deployments ranging from 7 to 65 radio nodes and supporting 500 to 3,000 people, each powered by one Services Node.

SpiderCloud’s E-RAN networks, with soft handoff, today show average voice call set-up success rates of 99.5% and an average call drop rate less than 0.8%, where the best network deployment shows a call setup success rate of 99.8% and call drop rates below 0.4%.

Each deployment handles thousands of voice calls every day, ranging from 300 in enterprises where mobile devices complement desk phones to over 3,100 in enterprises where only mobile devices are used, and the Small Cell system handles all broadband communications needs. Each of the networks manage hundreds of thousands of data and handoff sessions every day, with the largest deployment experiencing over 500,000 daily sessions.

With these performance metrics, we have shown scalable Small Cell systems installed to support small to large enterprises, can indeed handle all of the voice and data needs of an enterprise.

In comparison, individual or “mesh” Small Cells using hard-handoff, experience voice call drop rates upward or 5% or more. Why is that?

Dense indoor networks present several challenging technology obstacles. Experience shows the indoor Radio Frequency (RF) environment becomes increasingly complex and challenging as the density of the deployment increases. This is particularly true in multi-story buildings where mobile devices experience a three-dimensional (3D) RF environment. A single handset is able to see a very large number of Small Cells, some on its own floor and others from floors above and below it in buildings with open atriums and in campus areas. A device may experience as many as 3-5 handover events per minute, and the radio signal inside buildings experiences flat fading, which means that even a stationary handset sees signal from individual and uncoordinated small cells fluctuate by 6-8 dB. Without a central coordination point or support for soft handoff, such network deployments will experience an unacceptable call drop rate of 5%.

In brief, different solutions fit in different places. See what I mean in Art King’s recent blog – Small Cells Repeats the Enterprise Evolution Cycle.

So how do you achieve 99.5% reliability?
One Services Node can control up to 100 multi-access 3G/Wi-Fi/LTE Radio Nodes. Our E-RAN system overcomes these obstacles while simplifying the installation process greatly compared to traditional methods. One E-RAN can deliver unprecedented capacity and coverage to over 10,000 connected smartphones and tablets, with just one connection to the mobile operator’s core network. The scalable system architecture simplifies deployment and overall network configuration for mobile operators as they address pent-up demand for reliable mobile services from enterprise and large venue customers.

Can a Small Cell System Handle All Enterprise Voice and Broadband Needs?
If the system can scale and support soft-handoff and SON – You betcha! More importantly, Enterprise customers already show a strong willingness to switch mobile operators for better coverage. The Market Opportunity for mobile operators in US and Europe is $100 billion for enterprise services.

SpiderCloud Wireless will be at the Small Cell World Summit in London this week.

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik