D2E Sales Arrives

June 20, 2017


Copyright

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

 


Why Capacity and User Experience Matters

August 10, 2015

In our last posting on Single Cell Architectures vs. Scalable Small Cells, we explored the importance of handovers between cells as a key component of scaling capacity. We’ll now review a project that set out to explore the claimed benefits of SpiderCloud Wireless E-RAN scalable small cells system in a live network setting and share the results.

Let’s setup the context of the project:

  • Three-story building with installed LTE DAS system.
  • About 200 employees per floor.
  • No complaints of service or performance issues.
  • Operator offered one floor to disable DAS and implement the E-RAN in its place to prove the viability of the technology.

In order to proceed with the project, a walk of the candidate floor was conducted to collect our baseline DAS performance data. For the overall floor, we measured an average of 23.9 Mbps on the LTE downlink.

The project proceeded forward by disabling the DAS infrastructure on the candidate floor, and replacing with an E-RAN. The system supported the LTE needs of the users on that floor for the trial period. Data and metrics were continuously collected so the overall system performance could be evaluated at end of the project.

At end of project, and before the DAS system was returned to service on the floor, a second walk of the floor was conducted to collect our E-RAN performance data. The same path and collection tool was used to re-survey for average throughput. For the overall floor, we measured an average of 60.9 Mbps on the LTE downlink. That is a 255% increase in average downlink rate based on the measured DAS downlink average of 23.9 Mbps.

Finally, the daily consumption data was collected and charted. Our operator was both surprised and pleased by the results. Why? The data consumption on the E-RAN equipped floor was 57% higher than with the DAS system. As the chart below illustrates, the single E-RAN floor was driving more traffic than the other two floors combined.

Conclusions

  • Faster downlink performance increased data consumption by over 50%. Customer satisfaction with the performance improvement encouraged more usage by mobile owners.
  • For mobile operators, increases in data consumption can either raise customer loyalty or translate into revenue.
  • Just because a DAS system appears to be operating normally, there can be significant financial and performance improvements by replacing it with scalable small cells. For DAS owners planning for re-design driven by LTE needs, it is wise to consider adding scalable small cells alongside the legacy technology instead of making additional DAS capital investments.

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

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


Single Cell Architectures vs. Scalable Small Cells

August 3, 2015

Now that SpiderCloud has proved that operators and enterprises are looking for an alternative to DAS in the medium to large enterprise market, quite a few companies are trying to enter this market. A number of them offer a solution that have a centralized baseband unit, connected to radio heads throughout the building over dedicated cabling. These companies then claim that these “cloud RAN” products are better than enterprise small cell products because they eliminate handovers between radio heads.

Is handover such a bad thing in a cellular network? Is it something that you want to eliminate?  To us, this sounds like a really strange idea. Inter-cell handover has been the basis of cellular networks for three decades, from the time the first commercial cellular system was launched in October 1983, till today. Before you finish reading this blog post, cellular systems around the world would have successfully done more than a billion handovers!

What handovers enable is capacity. Properly implemented and reliable handovers help cellular networks scale, serve more subscribers, deliver more minutes, bits, bytes, music, video, you name it. According to AT&T, in 1965, before the introduction of handover in the cellular network, 2,000 subscribers in New York City shared 12 channels (on a single cell), and typically waited 30 minutes to place a call.

So the real question is not whether a small cell system does handovers, but whether it does handovers reliably. SpiderCloud’s scalable small cell system is designed to do handover really, really well. We have published our KPIs, both for 3G and LTE, in the past. Operators who chose to trial our system can see it for themselves. See our published KPI information for 3G and 3G+4G.

Our competitors might look at the KPIs we have published and claim that they have found a smoking gun. They will say, “Look! SpiderCloud systems drop calls 0.5% of the time, we never do so”. They are right, even with SpiderCloud, handovers sometimes fail. Handovers, by the way, fail in every macro network. So, what should an operator do? Go back to a single transmitter serving New York City? As an operator, do you care about delivering capacity, or about eliminating low-probability handover failures?

Finally, if an operator really does not care about capacity, does not mind installing dedicated cabling, has a very large capital budget and just wants to deliver signal inside the building with no handover failure, well, why not use DAS – the original “single-cell” system?  One mobile service provider did a trial to answer exactly this question. They had a three floor office building that was covered with a DAS system (and a dedicated base station). They turned off the DAS on one floor, and replaced it with SpiderCloud’s LTE E-RAN system. You will be surprised to learn what they did… in the next blog post.

– Amit Jain, Vice President of Marketing & Product Management
Twitter: @SpiderCloud_Inc


Business productivity with an inside-out mobility system

August 12, 2013

Mobility drives improved efficiency and productivity.  Having the ability to work anywhere in a building is only as good as the reliability of the network. Poor indoor coverage and capacity is a growing headache.  IT managers are now turning to their mobile operator to fix the problem. In fact, 61% of IT decision makers from businesses with 250+ employees say that their businesses have struggled with indoor coverage and capacity, and of these, 73% of people had taken steps to address the issue by contacting their mobile operator.

The challenges operators faced when deploying an indoor mobile network can be broadly summarized with: time, cost and complexities.  Speed is of the essence to satisfy the business needs of customers, yet traditional methods of improving indoor coverage take too long to deploy and are too expensive.  For example, installing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) can take months, if not years, due to local city and building approval cycles, Radio Frequency Planning, etc. It is very costly and involves high complexity, so the solution is not viable for many enterprises. Over the next 5-8 years, DAS will become less relevant for broadband connectivity inside buildings. It is an old technology approach that extends a signal inside a building with unnecessary complexity that adds excessive cost and time to network project plans.

Small cells are an increasingly attractive option for operators, as shown by recent statement partnerships like Qualcomm’s $100 million investment in Alcatel Lucent and Cisco’s even more dramatic $2 billion acquisitions spree.  However, coordinating networks and applying self-optimising network (SON) technology in a small cell environment is very different than dealing with a macro cellular environment. Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson all experienced this when they tried to convert their macro experience into an indoor environment. The experience has to be seamless, accounting for real-time factors such as network congestion and device preferences. In addition it has to be interoperable with other gateways, certified on carrier networks and highly scalable beyond a “mesh” of just 3-5 small cells.

Furthermore, dense indoor networks present several technological challenges. 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 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.  Without a central coordination point, or support for soft handoff, such network deployments will experience unacceptable call drop rates.

A scalable small cell system overcomes these obstacles while simplifying the installation process with self-optimizing and self-organizing software, and has the ability to scale to support 100 Multi-access small cells (up to 10,000 devices) with just one services node connection to the operator’s core network. Our very own scalable multi-access 3G, Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE small cell system allows mobile operators to deliver unprecedented cellular coverage, capacity and smart applications to enterprises. The scalable system architecture simplifies deployment and overall network configuration for mobile operators.  Overall, the system provides uninterrupted, trouble-free mobile data and voice services.

Beyond reliable indoor coverage and capacity, a scalable system also gives operators the capability to deliver hosted and managed services over its SCSN for mobility, unified communications (UC), secure access to applications, device management and integration of cloud and telephony (PBX), as well as new context-aware and location-based services.  Exact Ventures recently found that the managed mobility services market presents a $100 billion opportunity to operators, and that enterprises can save 35% a year by adopting such operator-delivered managed and hosted services.

Much as Wi-Fi exploded on the scene 10 years ago and over time segmented into residential and commercial markets in response to differing demands, small cells look set to follow the same trajectory.  Stand-alone small cells are made for homes and small businesses, whereas a system like SpiderCloud’s Enterprise RAN (E-RAN) is made to scale and designed to achieve high-performance mobility so vital to business productivity.

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik