Mobility @ 2020: Small Cell Networks & Services for a 2020 Mobile World

January 1, 2013

The Year of Mobility & Agile Services for the Enterprise

As we’re kicking off 2013 – we know this: mobile networks are becoming more capable and agile with the use of macro and small cell networks to better handle capacity requirements for enterprises customers.  We are in the midst of a mobile industry in transformation – the most rapid mobile network change we have seen in over 15 years. Mobility and use of spectrum (licensed) is the digital oxygen that drives productivity – our industry’s equivalent to crude oil deposits. Spectrum reuse and targeted capacity using small cells is rapidly becoming the answer to deal with networks at capacity.

We are entering years of mobility and agile network services delivered by communications providers.

But, it’s been a long haul. For almost a decade, enterprise IT has built and managed its own LAN and WAN networks, embarking on wireless to improve office and campus productivity and figuring out Unified Communication when and where it makes sense. It’s been a costly Capex and Opex undertaking. A decade later, as enterprises embark on going mobile, things have changed. Mobile friendly applications are emerging that are making it easier to adapt to mobile requirements. The device eco-system shake-up with iPhone and Android, and the emerging tablet category, is making the adoption of mobility for productivity much easier for enterprise employees and their IT departments. It’s all about reducing Capex and having a predictable Opex, as Joanie Wexler highlights in “Mobile Enterprise IT: Considering ‘Mobility as a Service’”. Software as a Service has been rapidly increasing for the last 3 years, and Virtualized Services (VLAN & VPN) are a mainstream pitch by wire line service providers, cloud providers, and system integrators. In simple terms, most non-core functions (to the enterprise) are being outsourced to help an enterprise stay agile and flexible.

In 2013 and beyond, mobile operators have an opportunity, like never before, to become trusted partners to their enterprise customers beyond minutes and Megabytes and subsidized devices.

If Apple, Google and the Bring Your Own Device and App store world have taught us one thing over the last few years, it’s that status quo is a fait accompli. Art King, in his blogs that should have been named “confessions of an IT professional”, aptly places the enterprise challenges and the opportunities for mobile operators into the context of the IT professional with a 3-blog series called “the changing role of the operator”. The net take-away is there’s a role for the mobile operator beyond free devices and long-term promises.  Helping to transition the customer from a wireless do-it-yourself world with costly Capex and Opex investment, to a mobile world with little or no Capex and a predictable Opex. It starts with reliable coverage and capacity inside to make any and all mobile devices work without any complex clients or cumbersome UC equipment. “Just make it work” as our Enterprise Advocacy Council has said for years. Going mobile (using licensed spectrum) should not be a 9 to 18 month process with a Capex of $2-3 per square foot. Add Wi-Fi with its headcount/Opex and going mobile can easily cost an enterprise $5 per square foot wherever it’s deployed. And keep in mind, that’s just for basic coverage and capacity (no Opex services on top).  There has to be better way?

Is a managed service in form of SaaS and WaaS important? Yes! More hardware and Wi-Fi vendors will start to offer such services, leaving the door open for fixed service providers to do the same. In December, Meraki was bought for $1.2B by Cisco to augment its Wi-Fi and Cloud services offerings to enterprise customers. HP recently announced its FlexNetwork Program to offer managed network solutions on a pay-per-use basis, creating new revenue opportunities for communication service providers (CSPs) without capital investment by enterprise customers. This gives enterprise customers valuable options to curtail Capex spending. The advantage for the mobile operator is that they can offer a full suite of Opex-only mobility services with reliable licensed spectrum coverage and capacity using multi-mode small cell systems that can also deliver WasS, SaaS, security and compliance services (Mobility Applications and Cloud Services – MACS). First to market with MACS has the advantage.

In a recent “A Look Ahead” Forbes article by Eric Savitz, the CEO of Webalo, a provider of enterprise mobility software, so stated:The enterprise mobility market is making that same type of evolution. It is moving from complex, slow, costly tools and processes to disruptive, easy, fast, and scalable contemporary technologies that match the speed of creation and deployment to the speed of business need.”

In 2013 enterprises will have more choices in mobile operators and the ability to curtail Capex and service mobility demands. Mobility as a Service without the headaches of Capex and additional equipment and headcounts to make things work.

Here are some interesting facts and trends to keep in mind for 2013-2020.

  1. More mobile devices become available, making the challenges of BYOD, Security, Compliance and Mobile Connectivity Inside much harder. In 2012, 39% of shipments were smartphones. 300 million smartphones were shipped in 1H12, an increase of 45% year over year. 2 billion smartphones will become 3B smartphones within the next 18 months. Enterprises rely on voice and mobility. With up to 80% of connections made inside a building, lack of reliable in-building coverage and capacity will stagnate productivity.
    1. Decisions to make: a) Do it yourself and become your own mobile operator inside, and make mobility and voice work reliably over Wi-Fi ($5 square foot). b)Partner with a Mobile Operator that can provide reliable coverage and capacity with no Capex and a predictable Opex, and fix this problem in days/weeks.
    2. Read more about MACS and overcoming BYOD issues at http://www.spidercloud.com/einsider
  2. Networks are becoming denser. In-fill networks, in the form of multi-mode small cells for outdoor hotspot and inside businesses and large venue deployments, can address coverage and capacity problems more effectively than the previous approach of Distributed Antenna System (DAS), or having the Macro network act as the main serving network inside. Today’s situation with Macro or DAS serving mobility requirements inside, does not work for almost 80% of business customers (where DAS is not a business option or poor signal coverage and capacity). It’s estimated that an average of 50% of licensed spectrum inside buildings is not properly utilized. By tapping into the underutilized licensed spectrum that resides inside a building, a mobile operator can better utilize its most valuable asset while freeing up macro resources to better service subscribers outside.  Offered by the mobile operator, with no Capex investments from the enterprise, a multi-mode small cell system (3G, LTE, Wi-Fi) is now available that can scale to support up to 10,000 connected devices in one deployment that only takes days to install. Yes, hard to believe. But, with SON (Self-Organizing Networks) capability, an operator saves time and money, and a multi-mode small cell network can be installed as easily as a Wi-Fi network. As HeavyReading puts it, “A Self-Organizing Network is one that can automatically configure and continuously optimize the parameters of its sub-elements with the aim of optimizing network performance, capacity and coverage.
    1. Goldman Sachs expects small cells to drive 18% of RAN investment by 2016 – and crucially, that 18% may be able to handle as much as 80% of all the traffic. This is good news for the enterprise.
    2. Analyst firms such as Infonetics, ABI Research, and Informa expect enterprise small cells to be the fastest growing segment of the small cell market.
    3. ABI predicts small cells for enterprise deployments will catch up with DAS by the 2016 timeframe – reaching the $2 billion mark by 2016. (August 24, 2012: http://tinyurl.com/9o8gktv) Enterprise Small Cells are estimated to reach $3 billion by 2018.
    4. Informa’s latest small cell survey illustrates that 97.5% of mobile operator respondents believe that small cells are key for the future of mobile networks. The survey results also show that capacity is becoming a major driver for the adoption and evolution of small cells. Informa’s report estimates that the number of small cells has surpassed 6 million, while there are 5.9 million macrocells deployed.
  3. LTE (4G) will start to take hold in the USA and Western Europe. By the end of 2013, it’s expected that as many as 40 networks will have some sort of LTE access in the larger cities. Overall, less than 20% of subscribers will have LTE capable devices, but this is expected to grow to 50% by 2015-16. It’s important that in-building networks can evolve to support LTE devices, when the enterprise environment is such that a significant number of employees require reliable LTE/3G mobility services inside.
  4. Upgrades to existing PBX can be costly from a Capex and Opex perspective. Mobile operators and the vendor community have options to tie into existing PBX or transition enterprise to a cloud PBX – removing Capex in favor of predictable Opex.
  5. Enterprise network access via smartphone and tablet apps (via application-specific interfaces), instead of VPN access to software platforms, will start to dominate, supported by continued cloud-network services access. More managed services options will be offered by the large Network Equipment Providers (in the business of selling hardware and software to the enterprise), in order to manage diminishing margins on hardware and control the transition to higher margin software services. Wireless as a Service (WaaS) with Wi-Fi (little or no Capex) has been taking hold over the last two years and will continue to grow.
    1. Gartner reported that 71% of businesses adopted Software as a Service (SaaS) within the past three years, with three quarters of businesses planning on increasing SaaS spending.
    2. A Forrester survey shows another reason for SaaS is “business agility”.

As we look forward, we are seeing the emergence of a common service network infrastructure where macro, micro and small cells work in close tandem with intelligent physical and virtual routing of access and services. Network as a Service (NaaS) is becoming a reality. With the proposition of FlexNetwork by HP – we are seeing the beginning of such an Opex-like service on the LAN/WAN where mobility services can help the enterprise realize its goals of becoming agile and flexible, and focus on its core business rather than spending too much time and resources on non-strategic network issues.

2013 is the year when enterprise CIOs will demand mobility services from their communications partners as part of a longer-term strategy to lower Capex costs and improve productivity and business agility. Mobile operators will start to offer true managed mobility services to the enterprise – starting with basic coverage and capacity, followed by services to include Wi-Fi, BYOD, MDM and PBX Integration – offering clientless-UC, access to mobility, applications and cloud-based services.

Happy New Year…and many more years of mobility and agile network services.

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO

You can follow Ronny Haraldsvik at Twitter @haraldsvik

About SpiderCloud Wireless

SpiderCloud Wireless is speaking at leading industry events, including Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. See more here.

SpiderCloud Wireless develops breakthrough, small-cell network platforms that allow mobile operators to deliver unprecedented cellular coverage, capacity and smart applications to enterprises. SpiderCloud is the first company to offer a true multi-mode access system with 3G, LTE/4G and dual-band Wi-Fi for reliable mobile services indoors for enterprise customers of any size. 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. See more at the Enterprise Insider content sharing site: http://www.spidercloud.com/Einsider

In Fall 2012, Wall Street Journal ranked SpiderCloud #5 in its “Top 50 Start-Ups” in the “The Next Big Thing” report. SpiderCloud Wireless is based in San Jose, California and is backed by investors Charles River Ventures, Matrix Partners, Opus Capital and Shasta Ventures. SpiderCloud Wireless is a registered trademark and SmartCloud a trademark of SpiderCloud Wireless, Inc. © 2013 SpiderCloud Wireless, Inc. For more information visit www.spidercloud.com and follow the company on Twitter http://twitter.com/spidercloud_inc.


The 2020 Services Network

November 6, 2012

Apps & Cloud Services by Mobile Operators for Enterprise IT Teams

As 2013 approaches, and as we look as far as 2020, the pragmatic view is that mobile networks will become more capable and agile with the use of macro and small cell networks to better handle capacity requirements from consumers and enterprises, and bring forth the true potential for cloud and application services. Our focus is on access, but what we are enabling are services.

We are seeing the emergence of a common service network infrastructure where macro/micro/small cells work in close tandem with intelligent physical and virtual routing of access and services.

Enterprise small cells have emerged as the most promising technology to deliver high-capacity and 3G coverage inside offices. Analyst firms such as Infonetics, ABI Research and Informa expect enterprise small cells to be the fastest growing segment of the small cell market. ABI predicts small cells for enterprise deployments will catch up with DAS by the 2016 timeframe – reaching the $2 billion mark by 2016. (August 24, 2012: http://tinyurl.com/9o8gktv).

The battleground is for sustainable ARPU and the enterprise markets. With cloud and application services, mobile operators become a true partner to enterprise CIOs. Mobile operators can offer enterprise customers reliable Mobile Applications and Cloud Services (MACS) to help mobilize people and move expenses from the Capex to the Opex side of the equation, with clientless and effortless communications services enabled by the system. Unified Communications (UC) could be offered by mobile operators, thus taking cost and complexities away from enterprise IT. Do It Yourself (DIY), or ask the experts for help?

What if there was a way forward that enabled UC to be more successful and reduce the burden on Enterprise IT and the device owners? Is this even possible?

The answer is “yes” and it revolves around RAT Détente. What do we mean? UC suppliers need to embrace the Yin/Yang of wireless technologies with the wireless service provider community globally. Yin/Yang is actively building software so each RAT does what it’s best at in order to deliver a magical experience for the device owner. Let 3G, and eventually, LTE support voice, and 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi support data. To make this a reality:

  • The Mobile Operator needs to provide blanket coverage and capacity inside structures to enable the strategy. You cannot move forward without adequate quantities of the digital oxygen that the mobile devices breathe.
  • The Mobile Operator needs to bridge the gap from their networks into the Enterprise UC architecture. The mobile plumbing must play its part in recognizing an enterprise’s dial plan and routing calls to their PBX!
  • The Enterprise UC vendors need to insure their clients are more agile, and correctly support Integrated RAT UC in addition to legacy Wi-Fi only UC.
  • Mobile Operators treat enterprise calls as free when using the solution (assume a monthly rate for each mobile UC device).

Meeting the four conditions above will allow Enterprises to:

  • Eliminate Capex requirements, and move to a predictable and scalable Opex financial environment.
  • Move Telecom and Network operations headcount to more strategic roles in IT.
  • Eliminate, as desired, desk phones for mobile workers.
  • Support ANY device an employee brings in, for minimally voice+IM/Presence. Feature phones can be a UC extension!
  • Only support mobile UC client for non-real time functions (non-SMS IM, Voicemail, etc.).
  • Simplify Wi-Fi architectures and deployments.

Meeting the four conditions above will allow Mobile Operators to:

  • Increase ARPU while enabling the enterprise to save even more.
  • Create value to enterprises that are mobilizing their workforce.
  • Simplify the support landscape of the enterprise.
  • Create deep and important relationships with the enterprise UC vendors to leverage their sales teams.
  • Leverage your premise based heterogeneous network investments currently underway in a unique and powerful way that both UC vendors, or enterprises, cannot do by themselves.

We are at a turning point where small cell systems, like SpiderCloud’s, will not only enable heterogeneous networks, but solve problems that were previously unaddressed. With the presence of a “local controller” or a “Service Node”, operators now have one leg in the enterprise premise, and the other leg in the Mobile network, boasting a powerful onboard virtualization platform. Together we can enable the true potential of Unified Communications to finally be realized on mobile devices in a magical way that caters to the needs of enterprise business users. The enterprise services opportunity is enabled with targeted deployments of coverage, capacity and an open door for services. Deployment of scalable small cell systems starts taking hold inside medium to large enterprises, to compliment DAS, or in places where DAS does not make economic sense.

“What does the Enterprise Customer Want” and “The Business Case for Small Cells for Enterprise’ are key interest topics at the upcoming LTE North America conference in Dallas on November 14-15. See more at http://americas.lteconference.com

In addition to enterprise LTE North America panels, there’s also a follow on, by-invitation-only, panel on November 15 at 5pm (Oak Room) which takes a deeper dive into IT services examples with IT experts from the industry. The session is moderated by Mike Thelander, Principal at Signals Research. Request an invite.

2013 is the year when operators can start to offer true managed mobility services to the enterprise to include BYOD, MDM, Wi-Fi and PBX Integration – offering UC-clientless access to mobility, applications and cloud-based services, after they prove themselves as trusted providers of reliable indoor coverage and capacity for enterprises with 100 to 10,000 people, with 3G, Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE access.

To help the mobile operators, small and large vendors must be able to provide the ability to build very dense small cell networks to address their own network coverage and capacity needs, before they can offer enterprise customers with reliable mobile, application and cloud services – as they help transition enterprises from a wireless to a mobile connected business.

Everything is changing, and we’re entering into the ‘glide path’ for a true services network of the future where instant on-demand availability of operator services, additional capacity, applications and movies is determined by your referred sensory profile, time and place. The 2020 services network is not far away.

You can follow Ronny Haraldsvik at Twitter @haraldsvik

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO


Beyond Basic Coverage & Capacity, This is a Battle for Apps and the Cloud

October 26, 2012

The Transition from an Access Network to a 2020 Services Network

We’re in the midst of a mobile industry in transformation – the most rapid change we have seen from the RAN equipment and services players since the move to CDMA/WCDMA over a decade ago. With the inclusion of Wi-Fi as part of outdoor macro networks in coffee and retail shops, and Femto cells as a useful stand-alone access point for residential and small businesses, “small” is here to stay. Small, as in small cells, which embed 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE access functionalities into a small cell form factor as part of the overall macro network, lovingly referred to as HetNet (Heterogeneous Networks), is growing in importance as small cells are in strong consideration as infill networks for dense metropolitan areas where they complement the bigger Macro network.  As 2013 approaches, and as we look as far as 2020, the pragmatic view is that mobile networks will become more capable and agile with the use of macro and small cell networks to better handle capacity requirements from consumers and enterprises, and bring forth the true potential for cloud and application services. Our focus is on access, but what we are enabling are services.

We are seeing the emergence of a common service network infrastructure where macro/micro/small cells work in close tandem with intelligent physical and virtual routing of access and services.

Goldman Sachs expects small cells to drive 18% of RAN investment by 2016. The profound point here is that the 18% may be able to handle as much as 80% of all the traffic. For proper context, keep in mind that indoor/outdoor multi-mode Wi-Fi/3G/LTE is part of this equation.  Scalable small cell systems are in the early days of making a bigger impact in metropolitan public access markets, and evolving to include all access technologies in various form factors. The next battleground is for sustainable ARPU and the enterprise markets. With cloud and application services, mobile operators become a true partner to enterprise CIOs. Mobile operators can offer enterprise customers reliable SmartCloud™ Mobile Applications and Cloud Services (MACS) to help mobilize people and move expenses from the Capex to the Opex side of the equation with clientless and effortless communications services enabled by the system:

  • Wi-Fi as a service with enterprise-class Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n with 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz bands
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  • Device Management (MDM)
  • Security and compliance
  • Integration with existing PBX or cloud-based PBX

The enterprise services opportunity is enabled with targeted deployments of coverage, capacity and an open door for services. Deployment of scalable small cell systems starts taking hold inside medium to large enterprises, to compliment DAS, or in places where DAS does not make economic sense.

Enterprise small cells have emerged as the most promising technology to deliver high-capacity and 3G coverage inside offices. Analyst firms such as Infonetics, ABI Research and Informa expect enterprise small cells to be the fastest growing segment of the small cell market. ABI predicts small cells for enterprise deployments will catch up with DAS by the 2016 timeframe – reaching the $2 billion mark by 2016. (August 24, 2012: http://tinyurl.com/9o8gktv).

2013 is the year when operators start offering true managed wireless services to the enterprise to include BYOD, MDM, Wi-Fi and PBX Integration – offering UC-clientless access to mobility, applications and cloud-based services. LTE usage may reach 20% of subscribers – for most operators (USA) with LTE spectrum, the majority of usage (90%) will be consumer video-related.

As we prepare for these changes, SpiderCloud Wireless will support scalable and multi-access 3G, Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE small cell systems for mobile operators to help bring through the 2020 services network.

Already proven with its 3G E-RAN, SpiderCloud Wireless enables mobile operators to build very dense small cell networks to address their own network coverage and capacity needs, and offer enterprise customers with reliable mobile, application and cloud services as they transition from a wireless to a mobile connected enterprise. The 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 using an enterprise Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). One E-RAN delivers 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.

See more about “Why is a Local Controller or Services Node Important for 3G/4G Small Cell Deployments?”

Mobile operators can now co-deploy 3G, 3G+Wi-Fi and LTE/4G small cell radio nodes, all managed by a single SCSN. The SCSN makes it possible to ‘densify’ an in-building network without impacting the rest of the network. It aggregates all the small cells deployed inside and makes the overall system appear as a single node to the mobile network. With SpiderCloud, a system of 3G and LTE/4G small cells appears as one cell to the mobile network 3G Iuh-compliant Gateway and as a single eNodeB to an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network. SpiderCloud’s SCSN enables seamless small cell-to-small cell mobility, and manages interference between the E-RAN and the macro cellular network.

The SCSN significantly increases average mobile data throughput for small cells, capacity and the overall performance of a small cell network, improving the small cell economics for a mobile operator. A SpiderCloud system is proven to handle over 100,000 data sessions and handoffs on a daily basis while providing reliable voice and data coverage for hundreds to thousands of employees with just one connection to the mobile core network.

As we look to 2013 and the annual “meeting of the Gods” in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, keep this in mind: with the access bottlenecks soon to be removed, everything is changing and we’re entering into a true services network future. 2020 networks are not far away where instant on-demand availability of operator services, additional capacity, applications and movies is determined by your referred sensory profile, time and place.

We think this platform approach will be adopted and become the de-facto approach to deliver services beyond basic access to enterprises and venues of any size and location.

Stay tuned, as we share more progress and adoption of the SpiderCloud Wireless small cell system for scalable deployments inside enterprises and large venues. You can request a meeting with us at any of these upcoming industry events.

You can also follow our progress at twitter @spidercloud_inc and @haraldsvik.

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO