Kista plays catch-up… again!

September 22, 2015

shoosewisely_0So, efforts to target the enterprise IT buyer by the mobile infrastructure industry received another strong validation last week. If you recall, SpiderCloud’s strategic collaboration with Cisco to deliver compelling offerings to enterprise customers was unveiled at MWC15. Well, it looks like Ericsson has finally realized that their “carrier-grade Wi-Fi” is not good enough for enterprise, and HP has realized that they cannot turn a blind-eye to licensed spectrum. So, here they are with a new press release.

17 Sep 2015 – Ericsson Press Release

Highlights:

  • Bilateral reseller agreement opens up enterprise market opportunities beyond Ericsson’s carrier-grade Wi-Fi and provides go-to-market opportunities for Ericsson’s industry-leading small cells through HP’s global enterprise channels
  • Leverages HP’s acquisition of Aruba Networks through integration of HP’s enterprise WLAN technology into Ericsson RBS 6402 picocell

There are a number of apparent gaps in the technology collaboration that appear problematic and make us ask questions, such as:

  • It only covers the RBS 6402, which is a picocell product targeted at the SMB market (up to 5,000 m2 building). The medium-large building “Radio Dot” platform is visibly missing from the announcement. Is HP-Aruba Wi-Fi in-scope for the Dot, or does a parallel infrastructure need to be put in place?
  • Where is support for enterprises who have HP-Aruba systems in-place now? We don’t see it. By contrast, current generation Cisco AP’s sport a modular port where our jointly developed cellular Clip-On module can be simply plugged into them. This provides for an implementation that leverages the pre-existing enterprise transport infrastructure, to quickly bring critical mobile service to the Cisco enabled buildings.
  • What are the RF deployment tradeoffs for implementation to stay within the standards based PoE+ power budget? From a product perspective, will there be multiple versions of the RBS 6402 that include the different mixes of 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi radios, or only one version? And, how many radios can be active?

What’s our take on the commercial effects?

The reseller agreement validates that mobile wireless infrastructure vendors have to find a way to offer their products directly to Enterprise. We have seen this trend emerging over the last three years as mobile has become business critical, and energy efficient (metal coated) window glass rollouts are accelerating.

While this transition was started with the emergence of scalable small cells that are “IT friendly” and achieve a Wi-Fi price point, the completion of transition will be stable, operator models that facilitate “frictionless adoption” by enterprises. This change in thinking is at the vanguard of many operators whose customers are demanding better service. We documented some of the building blocks to the future in our post Enterprise Small Cell Deployment Insights as a start point for commercialization thinking about the transition.

Finally, the technology exchange involved in the agreement is not clear on the roles of each of the Wi-Fi divisions. The need to seek an external source for 802.11ac technology for the RBS 6402 raises red flags. On the RBS 6402, there are additional new questions beyond our Small Cell “Super Bass-O-Matic’76”? post that unpacked the technology realities of the first RBS announcement.

As always, nothing is simple when planning for the complex landscape we live in globally.

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

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


Small Cell “Super Bass-O-Matic’76”?

October 7, 2014

“Alrighty then,” you say.  Already you’re wondering where this will take us?  In keeping with the 70s theme from our last blog (An Abba tune from ’77 “Take a chance on me” – DAS Dot One Year Later), in this blog we take a look under the hood of another Ericsson “way ahead” announcement, the RBS 6402 (Radio BS).

Much like the famous Super Bass-O-Matic ’76 from SNL, the Radio BS promises to deliver many things. Yes, “the days of troublesome scaling, cutting and gutting are over, because Super Bass-o-Matic ’76 is the tool that lets you use existing radios and technologies” with no “waste, and without scaling, cutting or gutting“. Yes, it’s that simple!”

The RBS 6402 is a high-performance indoor multi-standard/mixed-mode – LTE, WCDMA and Wi-Fi – small cell with carrier aggregation that delivers 300 Mbps LTE.”

Now, disregard PR, Web site marketing, and PowerPoint and let’s look at some of the claims and consider the realities of manufacturing and deploying small cells over enterprise Ethernet:

Radio BS Claims:

  • 3G + Dual LTE + Wi-Fi
  • With 2 x 250 mw transmit power, R-BS 6402 claims it will cover 5,000 sq. m. (or > 50,000 sq. ft.) powered over Ethernet
  • Carrier aggregation (2 x 20 MHz) and supports for 10 bands

Facts & Realities:

  • PoE+ has a power limit of 25.5 W. Average amount available at the access point is ~23 W
  • On average, running 4 PAs at 250 mw, requires ~10W of power (typical power efficiency of a RF front end is ~10%). This leaves just 13 W for running the baseband and everything else.
  • The R-BS supports 10 bands: So, you would think from the PR that the small cell is a multi-operator small cell that supports 10 simultaneous bands. This is simply wrong.
  • Ericsson has to use one of their macro-cell DSPs if they want to run their existing PHY software, plus an additional processor for higher-layer eNB software.
  • The R-BS marketing makes it look like the product can do 3G _AND_ 2 carriers of LTE. But, doing so requires three RF front-ends, something that even Ericsson is not claiming to do. So, the best-case scenario is that the R-BS 6402 can operate as 3G + LTE, or dual-carrier LTE. We know because of our SpiderCloud SCRN-310. The award-winning dual-band Radio Node was announced October 2013 and it shipped commercially (and installed) in operators’ networks in June 2014. One caveat, we use Broadcom’s industry-leading single System-on-a-Chip (SoC) with our own software on top. See more about the build-up of the RN310 and our KPIs.

Questions customers should be asking:

  • What else does an operator need to purchase to use the RBS 6402?
  • How does the small cell connect to the core? There is no mention of any HeNB gateway. Direct connect to EPC via a security gateway of sorts? (Ericsson does not support iuh).
  • Is Ericsson going to build a new HeNB GW (LTE femto gateway)? Or will they directly connect all these small cells to the EPC? What is the end-to-end architecture? When will the missing pieces show up?
  • Is Wi-Fi a module? Are they using the outdoor BelAir portfolio indoors? Any dual-band Wi-Fi module needs 10-12W of power. Where is that coming from? Perhaps a second Ethernet cable pull and a DC power is required?
  • Does the 6402 really offer simultaneous operation in 1 carrier of UMTS, 2 carriers of LTE with carrier aggregation and 2 bands (2.4/5.8) of Wi-Fi? In other words, simultaneous transmission in 5 frequency bands, as PR suggests?
  • If the answer is yes, then note that the PoE+ standard (IEEE 802.3 at) specifies a maximum draw of 25.5 W? An Ericsson Wi-Fi AP alone consumes ~12W of power…”just saying.”
  • When working within the PoE+ budget, can the R-BS even do two carriers of LTE, with each band operating at 2 x 250 mw?  Or will it be only one carrier of LTE when PoE+ is being used?
  • How many simultaneous bands does the R-BS actually support when operational?
  • Can the 6402 really cover 5,000 sq. m. (~55,000 sq. ft.) in an average enterprise with cubicles, private offices, conference rooms, walls, obstructions, elevators etc.?  Or, is 5,000 sq. m. a number based on some kind of ideal environment (which is rarely, never the case when deploying)?
  • How is this small cell synchronized with the macro network? No mention of GPS or any other synchronization technique?
  • When will the new R-BS 6402 be FCC certified (for sale in the USA. No submissions yet)? And, while you’re at it, ask ‘when’ the DOT and related products will be FCC certified (for sale in the USA) too…

You see, it’s tough to squeeze 3G+Wi-Fi+LTE within 8-10W with the current Radio BS approach. It may happen one day or sometime late 2016? Whaaaat?  You mean, yet another announcement where the commercial product is not available for 15-18 months?

All puns aside, Ericsson’s RBS 6402 looks like an indoor small cells capable of doing 2 carrier of LTE OR 1 carrier of 3G and 1 carrier of LTE.

In that sense, it is mimicking SpiderCloud’s SCRN-310. So, since our 310 Radio Node has been shipping since June 2014, we find it odd that Ericsson claims a “first” with the Radio BS. Much like the DOT (See new SpiderCloud-vs-DOT video), this may be another delay-the-market tactic. For now, lots of hot air and more Radio BS?

So, if the Super Bass-O-Matic sounds cool to you, then you’re in for “quite a rush. You’ll never have to scale, cut or gut again!”

Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO (@haraldsvik)

– Amit Jain, VP of Product Management

Twitter: @SpiderCloud_Inc


“Take A Chance On Me”… DAS DOT, A Year Later…

September 24, 2014

Almost to the day, a year ago, Ericsson entered the #smallcell arena with DAS DOT. Yes, not so much a #smallcell system. Very much a #DAS. However, the important thing is that @Ericsson joined in with the small cell industry (along with Radio Access Network vendors, Alcatel Lucent, @Nokia @Huawei, and now @Cisco), acknowledging to the world “Houston – we have an indoor coverage and capacity problem.” Since then, Ericsson engaged @SpiderCloud_Inc and Huawei in “slide warfare” with hopes of delaying customers’ decision-making process. This blog honors a year gone by (of “hot air combat”), and missed face-to-face panel opportunities to discuss Enterprise small cells (Ericsson has declined several invitations to be on panels with SpiderCloud and Cisco, most recently at CTIA).

It’s sort of like being a senior in high school. You’re the starting Quarterback on the football team. You’re already driving a car, and you have a steady girlfriend, and you have a date for the big prom. Then, a freshman approaches your girlfriend a few weeks before the big event and asks her to go to the prom with him, making big claims that he will take over the starting Q position on the football team, take the drivers license (before legal age) and drive her to the prom. Lots of promises! It could happen. But is it likely?

If you want to trip up an Ericsson executive, ask this simple question. How many DOTs, IRUs, DUs and cable runs are needed to provide 3G+4G coverage and capacity for an enterprise customer with 500,000 Square Feet of office space in a building with 10 floors? The answer may surprise you. Contact me to verify the answer you received from your Ericsson contact.

As you contemplate the answer, keep this in mind:

  • Ericsson macro network is a pre-requisite. 3G operation requires an Ericsson Radio Network Controller.
  • DAS DOT network requires dedicated fiber from the Digital Unit (DU) to the Indoor Remote Unit (IRU), and then dedicated Cat6e from the IRU to the Dot. Since each Dot supports only one band class, two Dots are required to support 3G and LTE. Two Dots mean two Cat6 cable pulls per location. All in all, a very expensive install, with no opportunity to share infrastructure with the enterprise.
  • DAS DOT requires dedicated, secure, and synchronous backhaul for 3G/LTE system. There is no way to share backhaul with the enterprise or use backhaul from an Internet Services Provider.
  • Need to add more Dots to increase coverage in a new wing of the building, or because you need more concentrated capacity? Well be prepared to add an IRU as well, and buy capacity licenses at the DU as well. Of course, if you expect usage to be static over the next 7-10 years, then no need to worry.
  • Capacity limited; depends on baseband unit. To add capacity, you have to add baseband unit and add radio head concentrators, which is costly.
  • Baseband units run on DC power (AC-DC convertor). Power-hungry: requires 300-400W per unit where multiple units are needed.
    – Electricity OpEx for a DAS system could run $25-30K/year compared to $500-700 for a SpiderCloud Services Node which requires less than 100 Watt of AC power and can share the Enterprise UPS System (1 unit needed)

Recently we were told by one of our customers, with a smirk on his face (because he knows us), that he had been told by his new Ericsson sales rep that… “SpiderCloud cannot offer enough capacity for cafeterias and auditoriums.” Come again, what!? That’s #redonkulous

Let’s see, we’re the first one out with a dual-band 3G/4G Radio Node (shipping since June ’14) and also dual-carrier 4G/4G radio Node. So, 2 LTE carriers of data and 128 VoLTE calls in 5,000 ft2 is more than sufficient for a subscriber per 20 ft2! Oh wait, where is Ericsson’s scalable small cell system for enterprise (or any vendor?)?  That’s right. Nowhere in sight.

When you deploy in-building wireless systems, having available capacity when and where needed, is essential. When comparing SpiderCloud to Huawei and Ericsson, (LTE comparison to be nice), there is a significant capacity advantage with a scalable small cell system approach vs. a DAS DOT shared capacity approach. After all, every small cell provides capacity to the user near the small cell and thus a great user experience!

Here are our assumptions:

  • SpiderCloud Radio Node covers 1,000 m2.
  • Ericsson IRU is connected to 8 Radio Dots that together cover 6,500 m2.
  • Huawei Lampsite rHub is connected to 8 LTE pRRUs that together cover 8,000 m2
  • One subscriber per 20 m2 & overbooking factor of 10

Please do not mistake this blog post for E-bashing. We’re simply a go-to blog for people for fact checking. Last year’s “JA DAS DOT” blog is our most popular read blog by far (ranked 40% higher than #2). So, when Ericsson celebrates one year (after announcing DOT) and still has not commercially shipped any systems and continues to claim it has a better in-building solution than our soon to be 3-year commercially proven 3G small cell system (and now 4G is shipping), then we cannot help ourselves. We simply have to bring out the Swedish Chef.

Yes, the “Meatball” theory by the Swedish Chef is still in effect.

But, at least Ericsson followed up a year later with another announcement. They do now have a true small cell (pico cells in a small cell form factor). The stand-alone small cell is for small business implementations and shops, made for Ericsson-specific networks — as an analyst points out.

“The RBS 6402 lacks enterprise-specific optimizations and applications found in some enterprise-centric small-cell offerings. The system is not designed to overlay a non-Ericsson mobile network.”

When will the new small cell ship?  When will DAS DOT ship? Most likely in 2015.

What’s still missing from DAS DOT and the new small cell?  Still no support for value added services or #NFV, which is inherently built into the SpiderCloud small cell platform. NFV and small cell services is increasingly important to the Small Cell Forum, as Dr. Alan Law, new chairman, points out in the recent Light Reading article.

With the drive of standardization of equipment, that starts to open up a tremendous opportunities to take very adaptive and flexible techniques developed in the field of NFV and extend it to the edge of the network.”

* * *

As an example, if you take SpiderCloud Wireless, for instance, and what they have with their services node, they have in essence a platform there potentially capable of running applications at the edge of the network already. In essence, you could start to exploit NFV in certain areas relatively quickly.”

Read more here “NFV lands in enterprise small cells” by Senza Fili Consulting in collaboration with RCR Wireless.

You can take the sassy DOT give-aways and sing and dance to the ABBA tune “Take a chance on me”… or you can go with the proven, scalable small cell system vendor, SpiderCloud Wireless. One scalable 3G/4G small cell system for coverage, capacity and services with reliable services for buildings up to 1.5 Million Square feet with ONE Services Node and 100 Radio Nodes – deployable in days over existing Ethernet (VLAN).

In celebration of our DAS DOT’s one-year blog anniversary we have a new DOT Video! http://youtu.be/NulhZt-43X0

And, every chance you get, ask an Ericsson executive: How many DOTs, IRUs, DUs and cable runs are needed to provide 3G+4G coverage and capacity for an enterprise customer with 500,000 Square Feet of office space in a building with 10 floors?

Send us your E-answers. We promise, we will post the correct answer on this blog within the next couple of weeks.

Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO (@haraldsvik)

– Amit Jain, VP of Product Management

Twitter: @SpiderCloud_Inc