Yes, we keep innovating and bringing to market scalability and flexibility for small cell systems deployed inside the enterprise by mobile operators. Today, we’re announcing another industry-first with our very new SCRN-310 small cell addition to our system and portfolio of Radio Nodes. The SCRN-310 uses an integrated 3G/LTE baseband SoC from Broadcom with SpiderCloud’s patented software on top, which enables simultaneous 3G and LTE dual-band access and services. And, it can be software-upgraded to operate in two spectrum bands of LTE when mobile operators are ready to start re-farming existing 3G spectrum for LTE services. The dual-band, dual-mode Radio Node leverages 2-years of proven commercial experiences (SCRN 200/300), and LTE experiences with the SCRN-210, which was announced a year ago, and is now part of half a dozen trials.
The new SCRN-310 supports 32 3G/HSPA+ channels, 32 active LTE users and 128 LTE Connected Users, and supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Band classes supported include: BC2 (1900 MHz), BC4 (AWS), BC1 (2100 MHz) and BC7 (2600 MHz). Support for additional band classes is planned for the second half of 2014. The new SCRN-310 will be available in Q2, 2014.
So why is the new radio node important? Peter Jarich with Current Analysis summarizes in a simple manner.
“Mobile operators need flexibility as they migrate their networks indoors and seek to enable in-building small cell services to medium and large enterprise customers. At the same time, supporting both 3G and LTE access is critical for investment protection while leveraging Ethernet for transport and power helps to address deployment concerns.”
For someone who is new to SpiderCloud, the commercially available E-RAN system consists of a Services Node (SCSN) that can control over 100 self-organizing and multi-access 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE/4G small cells that can be installed in just days by leveraging a private Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) on the existing enterprise Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). That’s right, installed in days, (not months and years) and can be deployed floor by floor in multi-tenant office buildings, or as the scalable small cell system solution for large and multi-national enterprises who occupy 10-100 floors as a single tenant. A SpiderCloud E-RAN is an operator managed services solution, deployed and operated by the mobile operator. Why is this important? 50% of enterprises would churn to an operator that could provide better in-building mobile coverage and capacity. Enterprise customers are becoming very important. Ken Rehbehn with Yankee Group Research summarizes:
”Enterprise small cell service offerings are important for mobile operators. A compelling offer coupled with a strong enterprise-centric portfolio helps boost an operator’s value proposition when pursuing the enterprise sector. Strong enterprise small cell portfolios must deliver mobile broadband performance, right-sized scale, robust trouble-free operation and excellent enterprise network management visibility.”
A Thousand Points of Interference, or a Magical Experience?
The Services Node is a ‘local’ control point for the small cell network deployed inside the enterprise. Without the presence of a local control point on an enterprise customer’s Ethernet network, a mobile operator cannot effectively coordinate small cells or support inter-small cell signaling (such as soft handover signaling in the case of 3G). Without the presence of a local control point, small cells have to connect back to the mobile operator’s core network-based gateways, slowing down handovers and increasing the rate of interference coordination inside buildings across both 3G and LTE small cells. That’s right, interference does not go away with LTE. In fact, cell-edge interference between two or more LTE indoor small cells is shown to be a significant factor. The Services Node’s control over all multi-access Radio Nodes ensures the same coordination/scheduling with 3G nodes and LTE radio nodes to ensure a great voice and data user experience. 3G and LTE/4G will live together for a long time. Simply going LTE indoors does not solve edge interference, neighbor list or management issues. The Services Node increases its importance as LTE become more pervasive over the next 2-5 years.
Small Cells Inside the Enterprise: Easy or Not?
As we pointed out earlier this year, “Mobile operators and vendors alike are awakening to the sober reality of the complexity involved in deploying 10s and 100s of small cells in a very dense indoor and outdoor area.” Indeed, beyond hype and slide ware, not all small cells are the same. This is no different than the Wi-Fi market 10 years ago. You simply do not deploy a Linksys where you need an Aruba system, or vice versa. The same market segmentation that took place with Wi-Fi over a decade ago, is now taking place in the emerging market of small cells. Making a stand-alone small cell for small business or limited deployment of a “mesh” of small cells is possible today. So, making these large and complex systems work inside is easy? No, if it was, a scalable small cell system would be available from the established RAN or DAS vendors and their partners. The entrance of Cisco is validating the market for small cell systems for medium and large enterprises. But, simply “jumping in the water” does not mean you know how to swim. Cisco’s recent entrance is good for the small cell market, but the “strap-on” cellular-to-Wi-Fi go-to-market approach will see its challenges (see “Strap-On” blog). Likewise, we welcome Ericsson into this market with a DAS-Dot Radio approach. Again, a “dot” at the end of forget-about-the-stuff-in-the-basement-and-roof and fiber-pull Distributed Antenna System (DAS) architecture is limited to existing customers who are single tenants in very large buildings. See more in our “Ja, DAS Dot” review). Indeed, this is a growing market and Joe Madden with Mobile Experts sees the implications.
“The in-building wireless market is the next frontier. That’s where data traffic happens, and the variety of building types and enterprise types will create a very dynamic market. Even better, because the indoor environment does not need the same kind of ‘mobility’, new competitors like SpiderCloud have an opportunity to beat the major OEMs by offering a more tailored enterprise solution.”
Beyond Coverage and Capacity, it’s All About Services (starting in 2014).
Beyond reliable indoor coverage and capacity, a scalable system also gives operators the capability to deliver hosted and managed services over their 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. 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.
“With support for both 3G voice and voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), the SCRN-310 gives mobile operators, and their enterprise customers, an enduring platform for current and future voice, data, and video services. Moreover, the platform will better enable mobile operators to offer enhanced enterprise-class mobility services like hosted unified communications, mobile device management and regulatory or compliance services.” Wise words by Greg Collins, principal with Exact Venture. See his report on the $100B services opportunity for mobile operators and 40% savings for enterprise IT.
We’re excited by the introduction of the new Radio Node, and the continued market advantages we have with a proven and scalable small cell system. This week we’ll touch upon our mobile operator presence on 3 continents, the shortened sales and deployment cycle we now enjoy, half a dozen LTE trials and our experience with IT departments and helping mobile operators to deploy E-RANs in the matter of days.
Look for us at the Small Cells Congress (Nov. 5-6) in Berlin, Nordic Small Cell Integration in Stockholm (Nov. 12), LTE North America in Dallas (Nov. 20-22) and at the Small Cell Forum and Small Cells Americas (Dec. 3-4). Follow us on Twitter @spidercloud_inc
Opps, we did it again. And, we’ll do it again…and again.
– Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO