If You Can Scale…Cloud and Managed Services $ Will Come

June 1, 2015

Next week, the Small Cell community once again gathers in London at the annual Small Cells World Summit. This year is special for us! We are, for the first time, showcasing how edge and cloud computing enable new Smart Building and Unified Communications managed services for enterprise customers in collaboration with our new partner Cisco.

Game Changer #1: SpiderCloud + Cisco + enterprise installed base of Wi-Fi

At MWC this year, Cisco and SpiderCloud announced a strategic collaboration. Cisco is now reselling our entire (easy to install) small cell portfolio under the USC 8000 Series brand. The Cisco USC 8000 Series access points are available as standalone units, or as plug-in modules for the Cisco Aironet 3600/3700 Wi-Fi access points using SpiderCloud’s technology. The plug-in radio module is a game changer! Now, the entire installed base of Aironet 3600/3700, inside enterprises across the globe, can be 3G+4G enabled in seconds (the time it takes to plug in the module) – something no other vendor can do.

Game changer #2: Services Collaboration!

For many years we have showed how our Services Node is a catalyst for services. An on-premises controller (Services Node), with a services module, can enable managed cloud and application services beyond basic coverage and capacity.

We have been working with leading companies to show use-case examples:

  • IBM for handset-to-location video, and advertising “push” services for use at venues and shopping malls.
  • HP and Vodafone UK for in-building location (which won us all an award from the Small Cell Forum in 2014).
  • Intel/McAfee for policy enforcement and identify and prevent network security threats at the edge.
  • Saguna for backhaul savings and user experience benefits using a centralized content cache.
  • Druid and Tango for extension of enterprise UC, PBX and mobile call services inside and outside the enterprise network. See Druid’s hospital use case.

Ken Rehbehn (Principal Analyst, 451 Research/Mobile) puts this into context:

“Enterprises recognize the strategic importance of mobile communications as a tool for business agility and efficiency, but simple in-building coverage and capacity fixes may not be sufficient. By augmenting in-building small cell mobile services with flexible mobile edge computing capabilities, enterprises gain a potent toolkit to get the most value out of smart building and Unified Communications applications.

Next week, at the Small Cells World Summit, we will provide further insight to how the Services Node drives services revenue beyond coverage and capacity:

  • How – the mobile device IMSI can be paired to the enterprise active directory for authentication, as well as provide broadcast alerts within the building where the controller is deployed.
  • How – Smart building operations benefit from mobile devices to improve zone heating and air-conditioning usage by monitoring the number of mobile devices and location within the building or campus.
  • How – you can improve building security access by using mobile devices as secondary identification and verification to building badge access.
  • How – the small cell system can enable location and context aware services and execute building-wide alerts to all mobile devices connected to the LAN.
  • How – compliance services can be enabled with policy filtering and identify and prevent mobile LAN network access to non-compliant web sites.
  • How – you can improve network security by blocking malicious packets sent by a mobile device within the LAN, and protect a device from malicious packets sent by a server on the Internet.

Game Changer #3 Services Revenue

The great majority of large businesses would pay over 30% more per-employee for an indoor cellular solution with managed services (iGR survey).

With our eco system partners, and now Cisco, a scalable small cell system deployed over a basic Cat5e LAN (or VLAN), can indeed open up a $100B services market with smart building and Unified Communications (Exact Ventures report).

SpiderCloud’s scalable small cell system provides real-time coordination and distributed SON capability up to 100 dual-band 3G+4G or 4G+4G access points (up to 200 sectors of capacity), enough to effectively offer reliable managed services for buildings and offices up to 1.5 million square feet.

DAS is no-go on Services

Unless you have IT funds like Google and Apple, managed cloud and applications services is a no-go. As we pointed out in the “DAS is D.E.A.D (as we knew it)” blog, and our blog about Ericsson Radio Dot (a year later), enabling services beyond coverage and capacity for DAS-based systems is simply a non-starter.

Our scalable small cell system technology is in use with América Móvil/Telcel, Avea, Verizon, Vodafone UK and Netherlands and Warid Telecom, among others.

See us at Small Cells World Summit next week (June 9-11 in London), or look for us at these upcoming events:

Keep in mind that if you have an IT-friendly and scalable small cell system, you can enable cloud and managed services to increase ARPU.

Ronny Haraldsvik
SVP/CMO
SpiderCloud Wireless
Twitter: @haraldsvik


If You Can Scale Small Cells Inside, then Service IT: Small Cell Services at the Enterprise Edge

October 9, 2014

At the heart of SpiderCloud’s scalable 3G/4G small cell system is the Service Node (SCSN).

This is a “local” control point for the small cell network deployed inside the enterprise over existing Ethernet. It’s also where the enterprise edge meets the mobile operators edge network. SpiderCloud’s small-cell system can provide cellular capacity and coverage to over 1.5 million sq.ft. of space and support over 10,000 voice and data subscribers.

Now why does that matter you may say? Beyond coverage and capacity, after credibility has been established with the IT department that mobile services work reliably inside the building, the Services Node is a strategic point of entry into the enterprise IT environment for mobile operators and business partners to service IT, and a potential great revenue opportunity.

A local control point is essential for Local IP Access (LIPA), also known as local switching and local breakout. LIPA enables content caching, access to content-based and localized services. The Services Node offers a platform to host Virtual Network Functions (from any source) at the edge of the network.   As shown in the figure below, the SCSN supports up to three modules: two Access Modules (AM) and a Services Module (SM).

The access module supports radio access technologies such as UMTS and LTE. The services module is designed to support third-party VNFs and is powered by an Intel Xeon processor. The module offers a Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) environment that enables hosting of multiple concurrent virtual appliances across different operating systems (Guest OS) and programming languages.  SpiderCloud has been working with 3rd party ISVs, to bring to market VNF’s associated with security, content filtering and content delivery. See more in Senza Fili’s recent report (“NFV lands in enterprise small cells”).

With the services module, mobile operators can host VNF’s at the edge. Recently, the new incoming chairman of the Small Cell Forum, Dr. Alan Law, pointed out the importance of small cell services, virtualization and leveraging processing power at the edge of the network in an interview with @Lightreading.

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.”

SpiderCloud’s powerful services platform enables migration of content delivery and core network functions at the edge. Also, the Services Node becomes a single point of inspection for all mobile traffic coming into or leaving an enterprise or venue, enabling intelligent data filtering and caching applications. In addition, SpiderCloud’s 3G/4G Services Node offers location and presence detection capabilities that enable context aware VNF’s, or Network as a Service (NaaS) opportunities. Dr. Alan Law goes on to say:

As a mobile device moves, it reports measurements to and from networks. Having to pull all those measurements back takes a lot of bandwidth. So if you wanted a location function, you would push that location function to the edge of the network to process all those functions being reported, so you get the best granularity of the data, but without the burden of having to port those features deeper into the network.”

The Services Node provides a trusted connection to the Radio Nodes and a logical view into all devices on the network to enable secure services to any mobile device on the network. The SCSN enables mobile operator managed cloud and application services, such as MDM, BYOD, location and context-aware, security, and IP-PBX services. The Intel Quad-Core Xeon Processor is the basis for the services module, which enables us to host virtual machines on the Services Node.

With Intel, SpiderCloud has established several services partners to showcase how managed services for enterprise customers are enabled via the existing small cell system.

  • Security threat detection with virtualized Network Security Platform (NSP) to identify and prevent network security threats at the edge of the mobile network, before such threats can reach the core network, by blocking malicious packets sent by a mobile device.
  • Location and detection. Using a virtual machine hosted on the Services Node, IBM can demonstrate handset-to-location video and advertising “push” services for use at venues and shopping malls.
  • Caching at the Edge (stadiums). Saguna can show backhaul savings and user experience benefits of a centralized content cache on the Services Node as part of a scalable small cell system for large campus, venues and shopping malls.
  • Context Aware Applications and Location Based Services. SpiderCloud, HP and Vodafone UK won a Small Cell Forum award in June 2014 for innovative work in this area.
  • PBX Integration: Tango Networks (enterprise). Druid Software PBX for Hospitals.

 

You can read more about the progress of small cell services for the enterprise in one of these recent RCR Wireless articles:

Keep in mind, by fixing in-building mobility with a scalable small cell system capable of also offering managed mobility services, the blurring of the lines between the enterprise and service provider networks will extend the “edge” of the mobile network from the operator’s core into the enterprise premise – thus opening the door for IOT, LBS, NFV and UC services on ONE common platform.

A 2013 research study by Exact Ventures outlined a $100 billion emerging market opportunity for mobile operators in providing mobility services for enterprise customers. The research showed that enterprise customers could save 35% a year by adopting such operator-delivered managed and hosted services. This report and estimate would be wayyyy off. It could indeed be way more.

Meet with SpiderCloud to discuss small cells and services at one of these upcoming events.  Our next presentation is at Small Cells MENA in Dubai October 27-28, followed by Small Cell Deployment & HetNet in Atlanta on November 4-7.

Ronny Haraldsvik
SVP/CMO

Twitter: haraldsvik
spidercloud_inc


“And Then There Were Three”…

March 7, 2014

(Aka, “One got fuddled, and then there were three”). SpiderCloud’s MWC’14 Recap and Commentary

The Genesis album from ’78 is a classic. The title is from an old children’s rhyme (10 little Indians). From our perspective, in the market segments that we play, “and then there were three” summarizes Small Cells at Mobile World Congress.

Before we go on, we have to congratulate GSMA for another banner event in Barcelona. This year there was a record attendance of 85,000 (last year 72,000 attended). The big difference this year was the notable presence of computing companies such as IBM, HP, Oracle, EMC and VMWare. The lines between mobile and enterprise networks are blurring (see blog). The big themes this year focused on wearable technologies, LTE, NFV/SDN, Big Data (analytics) and Small Cells.  GSMA’s Michael O’Hara and his team did a great job, as did Justin Springham and his Mobile World Daily & Live TV teams. See the “Show Wrap Up” and video recaps here.

Small Cells Moving from Hype to Reality

One analyst summarized as follows: “The indoor, enterprise space has notoriously been one where it was hard for operators to add value beyond providing bundles of voice minutes and devices. That is all changing and, as in-building coverage and capacity requirements become urgent, carriers see the chance for new business. That meant there was very heavy emphasis on indoor wireless at MWC, with vendors from all segments – Wi-Fi, small cells, DAS and macrocells – converging on the chief area of growth in usage and revenue.”

The sentiment is very accurate. Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. The in-building market is heating up and the DAS and Wi-Fi vendors want a seat at the table which is why we saw many DAS and Wi-Fi “We are Small Cell” related press releases before and during MWC. This is all good.

As for deployments of in-building systems that can scale from hundreds to thousands of employees, the sentiment now is “…and then there were three.”

SpiderCloud Wireless, Huawei and Ericsson are now recognized as the three vendors who have (or will have) systems that can scale to address medium to large enterprise in-building mobile coverage and capacity needs for mobile operator customers.

  1. Huawei has a solution they call Lampsite that deploys like a DAS system, for coverage and capacity inside very large buildings. First deployment includes it’s own HQ in the greater London area.
  2. Ericsson is coming to market with its DAS Dot macro cellular system for single-band 3G or 4G coverage (only) using dedicated CIPRI over Cat 5/6 cabling system in 2015. Ericsson’s CTO on Small Cells, Cloud and more (video).
  3. SpiderCloud has been commercial for over 2 years and is proven with large-scale small cell deployments using existing enterprise Ethernet/VLAN.  In addition, the system includes a platform to enable cloud and applications services. Services beyond basic coverage and capacity were showcased by Vodafone, Intel, NEC, IBM, Seguna and Tango Networks during this year’s MWC. See SpiderCloud RCR interview and Mobile World Live TV panel with Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T.

Beyond Coverage and Capacity, it’s all about services

We enjoyed a lot of interest in our platform’s x86 services module. SpiderCloud’s Services Node (SCSN) provides a trusted connection to the Radio Nodes and a logical view into all devices on the E-RAN, to enable secure services to any mobile device on the network. The SCSN enables mobile operator managed cloud and application services, such as MDM, BYOD, caching, analytics, location and context-aware, security and IP-PBX services. The SCSN services module includes a 64-bit Intel Xeon processor that uses Intel Quick Assist Technology and a 120GB solid-state HDD, offering a virtualized environment for a wide range of applications.  Services examples and demonstrations at MWC included:

  • Intel/McAfee Virtualized Network Security Platform (NSP) to identify and prevent network security threats at the edge of the mobile network, before such threats can reach the core network, by blocking malicious packets sent by a mobile device. NSP protects a device from malicious packets sent by a server on the Internet.
  • Saguna Networks’ demonstrated the benefits of backhaul savings and user experience benefits of a centralized content cache on the SCSN as part of a scalable small cell system for large campus, venues and shopping malls.
  • Ineoquest showed Quality of Experience (QoE) demonstration of mobile video performance by using probes on the small cell network using the SCSN.
  • IBM location and detection virtual machine hosted on the SCSN showed handset-to-location video and advertising “push” services for use at venues and shopping malls. The OTA demonstration included SpiderCloud’s UMTS Radio Node.
  • Tango Networks’ demonstration used the SCSN and Radio Node to show how mobile operators can extend enterprise UC, PBX and mobile call recording services to their entire network, inside and outside the enterprise LAN using any mobile phone via Tango’s Virtualized Accelerator on the SCSN, based on policies configured on the virtual machine on the SCSN.

Small Cells, “there’s an APP for that” (article quote)

Making Deployments easier with EASY-30. Just before MWC, we launched a ground-breaking initiative to help mobile operators and enterprise customers identify, verify and deploy a scalable in-building small cell system in 30 days or less.  The EASY-30 smartphone application enables sales teams to swiftly identify customer requirements for in-building small cell systems and fulfill verification and approval between the operator and its enterprise customer.  The system can then be rapidly deployed over Ethernet and automatically configured via Self Organizing Networks (SON), all within 30 days of the first conversation between operator and enterprise.

Finally, “…one got fuddled”

Cisco is focusing its small cell efforts on the “pub market” (coverage/capacity for 50 subscribers or less) with its small business and residential system portfolio. Time and investments will tell if they’ll put technology efforts into going after the medium and large enterprise market.

Growing Interest in the Enterprise Small Cell Market

“For all the noise from these new product introductions, we would note that privately held SpiderCloud offers a sophisticated indoor coverage system, which it has already been deploying commercially for almost two years. SpiderCloud’s system effectively with its own controller and using SON (self-optimizing network) technology for network optimization, appears to have a solution that has lower up-front costs and is faster to deploy than most DAS system and has been being commercially deployed with partner Vodafone for almost two years.” Needham Co.

SpiderCloud is a key player in the small cell space – even hosting them on one of our tech talks last year. The company continues to grow quickly, deploying their solution in the UK (and elsewhere) as part of Vodafone’s densification/in-building coverage effort.  After discussions with management, we believe the year is setting up nicely for the company, and with multiple operators trialing or deploying their solution and work being done on a multi-operator solution, we believe the future remains bright.” Deutsche Bank, “Signals to Noise”, March 2, 2014

If you’d like to read more about MWC, we recommend:

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik


“I’m Only A Dolphin, Ma’am” (Barcelona: beware of Lamps and Meatballs)

February 10, 2014

If you’re old enough to remember, “Land shark” you will not be fooled by “lamps” and “meatballs” disguised as something else. As the ’75 SNL skit goes “Candygram, my foot! You get out of here before I call the police! You’re the shark, and you know it! (Shark) Wait.  I-I’m only a dolphin, ma’am. (Woman) A dolphin?”

It takes more than smoke and mirrors to get on the roadmaps of some of the largest mobile operators in the world. You may want to watch this brief video to see what we mean.

2013 was a proving year for SpiderCloud, coupled with an industry wave of support for enterprise small cells led by Gordon Mansfield and the Small Cell Forum. Going to Barcelona in just 2 weeks’ time, we’re proud of momentum and support from the Small Cell Forum, and it’s recognition of SpiderCloud with an award for ‘Transforming the Cellular Service Offering in Enterprises’ as well as Telecoms.com ‘Best LTE RAN product’ award for the industry’s first Dual-band UMTS/LTE small cell (or dual band LTE).  SpiderCloud has an almost full “dance card”. Much of the interest is driven by the company’s proven ability to scale small cell systems for deployments inside buildings for large financial companies and global brands, and our latest small cell. SpiderCloud’s Dual-band small cell is nominated for ‘Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough”, by GSMA, using Broadcom’s latest SoC coupled with our proprietary software.

Beyond coverage and capacity, SpiderCloud together with IBM, Intel, and NEC – will showcase SON and enabling cloud and application services. SpiderCloud’s Services Node (SCSN) provides a trusted connection to the Radio Nodes and a logical view into all devices on the E-RAN, to enable secure services to any mobile device on the network. The SCSN enables mobile operator managed cloud and application services, such as MDM, BYOD, location and context-aware, security, and IP-PBX services. The SCSN includes a 64-bit Intel Xeon processor services module that offers a virtualized environment for a wide range of applications.

Intel (Hall 3, D30) is showing the benefits of running virtual machines and applications on the SCSN, using a SpiderCloud UMTS Radio Node. Demonstrations include:

  • McAfee Virtualized Network Security Platform (NSP) to identify and prevent network security threats at the edge of the mobile network, before such threats can reach the core network, by blocking malicious packets sent by a mobile device. NSP protects a device from malicious packets sent by a server on the Internet.
  • Saguna Networks’ demonstration of the backhaul savings and user experience benefits of a centralized content cache on the SCSN as part of a scalable small cell system for large campus, venues and shopping malls.
  • Ineoquest Quality of Experience (QoE) demonstration of mobile video performance by using probes on the small cell network using the SCSN.

IBM will show location and detection virtual machine hosted on the SCSN showing handset-to-location video and advertising “push” services for use at venues and shopping malls. The demonstration includes SpiderCloud’s UMTS Radio Node.

SpiderCloud and Tango Networks demonstration shows how mobile operators can extend enterprise UC, PBX and mobile call recording services to their entire network, inside and outside the enterprise LAN using any mobile phone via Tango’s Virtualized Accelerator on the SCSN, based on policies configured on the virtual machine on the SCSN.

In Barcelona we will also discuss how a scalable small cell system can be put inside a business customer’s premise in 30 days or less with our “EASY-30” approach. Unlike costly and complex in-building antenna systems that require months of planning and Radio Frequency expert teams, building approval, optical cables and single-band system, SpiderCloud’s EASY model enables identification, verification and installation of scalable small cell systems for medium and large enterprise customers and venues in 30 days or less, from start to finish, using Ethernet, a pre-sales application, SON and mutual buy-in from mobile operator and the enterprise for a speedy process.

If you want to see or hear more, SpiderCloud has several presentations and panel participation at Mobile World Congress:

  • Monday, 24th February, 13:30 to 14:00: ‘Best practices for installations of E-RAN and examples of enterprise managed services’ at Small Cell Forum’s booth in Hall 7, F61
  • Tuesday, 25th February, 12:30 to 13:30: ‘2014: The year of small cells (finally)?’ Mobile World Live TV
  • Tuesday, 25th February, 11:00 to 11:30: ‘Best practices for installations of E-RAN and examples of enterprise managed services’ at Small Cell Forum’s booth in Hall 7, F61
  • Wednesday, 26th February, 14:00 to 15:30: ‘Complementing Coverage with Small Cells and Wi-Fi’ in Hall 4, Auditorium 4

To request a meeting with us, send an email to: mwc14@spidercloud.com or stop by our small but effective booth in Hall 2 East (H2S3), next to Ericsson. Beware of lamps and meatballs. :-)

See you in Barcelona!

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik


Oops! We Did It Again!

November 4, 2013

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 What?

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
Twitter: @haraldsvik


Tapas, Small Cells & Services

February 12, 2013

“Carrier Wi-Fi Offload” was all the rage at last year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. But a year later, network priorities have changed. As I mentioned during last year’s Mobile World Live TV panel – “Next year will be all about multi-access small cells.” At this year’s annual gathering of some of the smartest and most innovative people and companies in mobile, MWC13 (February 25-28), will serve up ever-delightful Tapas, followed by multi-access Small Cells and enterprise managed services as two of the main dishes at this year’s big event.

MWC13 is where mobile operators and vendors jointly start to look beyond small cells for coverage and capacity, to revenue-generating mobility services for larger venues and enterprise customers. Why now, and which type of services?

It starts with a reliable in-building coverage and capacity system that can scale

In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, 35% of IT managers whose businesses have a mobile operator say their business is prepared to move to a wireless carrier that could guarantee a better indoor solution. Almost half (47%) reported interest in Mobile Device Management as an operator-hosted service to manage, monitor, secure and support mobile devices in the enterprise, and 40% demonstrated an interest in Wi-Fi as a service from their operator.

These findings support a recent report by Exact Ventures, Enterprise Mobility Services are Market Opportunity for Mobile Service Providers, which concludes that managed mobility services represent a $100 billion market opportunity for mobile operators, and a savings of 35% a year for enterprises adopting such operator-delivered managed and hosted services.

As the leading innovator of scalable small cell Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) systems for mobile operators, SpiderCloud Wireless is finding itself at the intersection of the densification of networks, applications and cloud-based mobility services. Just over five years ago, the founding team and its investors accurately predicted that small cells needed the ability to scale, just like Wi-Fi systems inside an enterprise, beyond wireless access.

At this year’s MWC13, SpiderCloud Wireless is part of a fortunate few private companies invited to speak. SpiderCloud Wireless has three speaker slots on Tuesday, February 26

  • 9:15am: Ronny Haraldsvik, CMO, “Network Offloading” panel, Mobile World Live TV
  • 10:30am: Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies, “Beyond Coverage & Capacity: What Enterprise IT Wants in form of Services from Mobile Operators,” Small Cell Forum Pavilion (Hall 7, G74)
  • 2:00pm: Michael Gallagher, CEO “Smaller But Smarter: Making a Success of Small Cell Networks” panel, Conference Village in Hall 4, Auditorium 3

SpiderCloud Wireless is sharing findings from 3 studies concluded in February:

  • Valuable licensed spectrum is a largely under-utilized asset indoors: Quantifying the in-building coverage and capacity constraints of an outdoor macro network that is used to provide in-building mobile data services – research report by Signals Research Group.
  • Enterprise Mobility Services: Market Opportunity for Mobile Service Providers – a market analysis by Exact Ventures that highlights a $100 billion 2020 emerging market opportunity for mobile operators. The research shows that enterprises can save 35% a year by adopting such operator-delivered managed and hosted services, totaling $60 Billion in cumulative savings between 2014-2020.
  • Enterprise IT Coverage & Capacity satisfaction survey by market research agency YouGov that identifies concerns with in-building service and willingness to switch mobile operators for better coverage and capacity, and to adopt cloud and applications, mobile device management and Wi-Fi services delivered by a mobile operator.

SpiderCloud Wireless is hosting Meetings in Hall 2, A130. SpiderCloud will discuss and showcase enterprise services examples such as PBX and Cloud-based PBX integration, context-aware and location applications, security and compliance, and Wi-Fi as a service. Enablement of such services starts with the deployment of a multi-access small cell system that includes 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi, and the ability to scale the system to 100 small cells with soft handoff and central coordination to deliver reliable mobile services indoors for enterprise customers of any size. To request a meeting, email meetingrequest@spidercloud.com or visit http://www.spidercloud.com/news/events

Check out the new venue and GSMA’s analyst device preview to MWC13 (Follow on Twitter @ #MWC13)

See you at the congress. Go Barcelona!

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO
Twitter: haraldsvik


The Inside Advantage

February 6, 2013

Managed Mobility Services for Enterprise Customers is a $100 Billion Opportunity

We are in the midst of the most rapid mobile network change we have seen in over 15 years. Mobility and the use of licensed spectrum is the digital oxygen that drives productivity – our industry’s equivalent to crude oil deposits. Spectrum reuse and targeted capacity using small cells indoors is rapidly becoming the answer to deal with networks at capacity. So where’s the $100 billion opportunity? It starts with providing a scalable small cell network that can deliver reliable indoor 3G/LTE and Wi-Fi coverage and capacity for enterprise customers, re-capturing vastly under-utilized licensed spectrum indoors and positively impacting on the outdoor macro cellular network.

“Mobility and agile network services for enterprises can give mobile operators an inside advantage”

The enterprise mobility services market opportunity is arising as a result of several key trends: mobility and the need for BYOD policies and control, and cloud computing and the emergence of enterprise small cell systems that go beyond coverage and capacity. In 2013 and beyond, operators have an unrivalled opportunity to move beyond minutes and Megabytes and subsidized devices and become trusted partners to enterprise customers.

As more hardware and Wi-Fi vendors start to offer managed SaaS and WaaS services, so they leave the door open for fixed service providers to do the same. 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 – and still deliver WasS, SaaS, security and compliance services.

In the market analysis “Enterprise Mobility Services*: Market Opportunity for Mobile Service Providers,” Exact Ventures, an analyst firm focused on technology market intelligence, analyzed the managed mobility services opportunity for businesses of 100 to 4999 employees in United States and the European Union. In leveraging the mobile ecosystem and small cell systems for in-building coverage, capacity and services, operators have the ability to help enterprise customers remove IT challenges with mobility, unified communications, secure access to applications, device management and integration of cloud and telephony, as well as leverage the emergence of new context and localization-based services.

“With enterprise IT teams under constant pressure to do more with less budgets and resources, the opportunity for trusted mobility services is tremendous,” said Greg Collins, principal with Exact Ventures. “Until now, there’s been little reason for enterprises to have a relationship with operators beyond minutes and mobile devices. Small Cell systems that go beyond coverage and capacity can change this model and open up new business models that can help enterprise customers save significantly on CapEx and OpEx.”

“Enterprise IT can save approximately $60 billion between 2014 and 2020”

By outsourcing telecommunications services, enterprises can leverage new in-building mobile services and save up to 35% per year by transitioning from a CapEx to a per-user/month OpEx model –  saving enterprise IT over $60 billion between 2014 and 2020 and allowing finite IT resources to be either re-allocated to focus on differentiation and competitive advantage or for the cost savings to fall to the bottom line.

Enablement of such services starts with the deployment of a multi-access small cell system that includes 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi and can scale beyond a few small cells to deliver reliable mobile services indoors for enterprise customers of any size. To enable managed cloud and application services, a locally deployed controller or services node is required to maintain secure services access to and from any mobile device on the network.


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Mobile operators who start to offer true managed mobility services to the enterprise, starting with basic coverage and capacity, can follow on with services such as BYOD, MDM and PBX Integration, even Wi-Fi as a service. 

Hosted Unified Communications (UC) refers to a set of real-time communications services such as instant messaging, presence information, telephony and video conferencing, as well as non-real-time communication services like e-mail, SMS, voicemail and fax.  UC is not necessarily a single product, but is often a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

Security: Cloud-based Web Filtering Enterprises increasingly employ cloud-based web filtering as a way to monitor and control website access and usage to enhance productivity and improve security by protecting against malware and spyware.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) entails lifecycle management of both company and employee provided mobile devices to manage and secure enterprise data and access.

Compliance Services Many industries are subject to regulatory record keeping requiring documentation of all communications within an organization. In conjunction with other cloud-based telecommunications services, operators can centralize the collection, storage, and reporting of such data, helping customers relieve costs and adhere to regulatory or best-practice compliance.

Wi-Fi-as-a-Service is the delivery of enterprise-focused services such as secure internal and guest Wi-Fi. Where the operator is already installing small cells with Wi-Fi, it can offer its business customers Wi-Fi access when the opportunity is available.

Context-Aware (or Location-Based) Services can offer enterprises a large array of use cases. The opportunity to leverage the very sophisticated mobile network location capabilities in Small Calls and extend them into the macro network creates unique opportunities to innovate enterprise business systems in ways that have never been easily available.

Enterprise CIOs will start to expect mobility services from their communications partners as part of a longer-term strategy to lower CapEx and improve productivity and 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 much faster than expected.

Mobile operators have the opportunity to offer its enterprise customers with a clientless-UC access to mobility, applications and cloud-based services, giving them the inside advantage over any other service provider and building a trusted relationship for years to come.

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO


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.


Joanie Wexler @ Mobile Enterprise IT: Considering ‘Mobility as a Service’

December 12, 2012

7 Questions for IT Managers to Ask

Your enterprise is likely going mobile. But if RF matters aren’t your IT department’s forte, and you need to deliver dense cellular coverage and capacity throughout your facility, perhaps you should consider a managed mobility service. But from whom?

The entity perhaps best equipped to help you bring 3G/4G infrastructure indoors – at least on paper – is a mobile network operator. The simple reason is 3G and 4G services use licensed wireless spectrum, and mobile operators have exclusive rights to the spectrum they have licensed. So whatever road you take to get strong cellular signals throughout your building and campus, you must do so with the operator’s blessing, or you face the possibility of paying a fine or being shut down.

All kinds of managed network services from carriers have been around for a long time, from managed router services to network-based firewall services. Why not managed in-building/on-campus cellular services?

Changing Mobility Landscape

Historically, the mobile network operators have tended to focus on consumers, leaving business-class managed network service issues to their wired counterparts. Increasingly, though, as usage trends create greater requirements to bring mobile WAN signal and increased capacity to your premise, new service models are emerging. Many of the mobile operators already offer managed Wi-Fi services. Yet to date, business-specific cell coverage assistance from operators has largely been limited to very large enterprises with deep pockets serving tens of thousands of paying customers that cost-justify the operator’s attention.

Smaller businesses – and even smaller locations of large businesses – haven’t had many options. It’s time to take the operator to task on this matter: there are now more affordable down-scale infrastructure options creating new business model opportunities for carriers that could benefit your company.

Should you look into having a mobile operator assume your on-premises mobility installation and management? When considering outsourcing, in general, most IT departments ask: Do we have capex budget, or prefer to move capex into opex? Do we have the necessary in-house expertise? How will running things ourselves affect the bottom line?

These questions still apply. In addition, here are some must-ask questions about managing your mobile enterprise:

1)    Do we need to deliver better cellular signals in a building or elsewhere on campus? This is a fundamental “needs” question, and part of your answer depends on your policy for supporting mobile WAN users at work. If you do intend to support them, how is your coverage now?

If you’re located near a macro cell tower and have a building made of penetrable materials, you might already have pretty strong coverage. But if you have weak in-building penetration and/or you see your number of mobile WAN users and applications growing, you might want to plan ahead to increase capacity and coverage on your premises.

2)    Do you have a bring-your-own device (BYOD) policy? You might not support certain BYODs on your internal network and/or you might have a mobile app sandboxing strategy to deliver limited access to unmanaged BYODs. So some users will stay on the mobile WAN because they prefer to use the device of their choice, even if it means giving up some access.  Still others will stay on the mobile WAN because some features on certain mobile devices simply don’t work behind the corporate firewall. Either way, you now have a mobile challenge on your hands.

3)    Are you looking to phase out wired desk phones? Robust mobile network coverage and capacity everywhere are necessary for strategies that replace legacy wired phones with devices using mobile WAN, and/or Wi-Fi, as their transport.

4)    Do you have revenue-generating workers, such as a sales force, that insist on using smartphones or tablets, and expect them to work inside your offices? Of course you do. As AT&T has recently reported, up to 80% of all voice and data connections on its network are initiated from inside buildings. Do you want to be the mobile operator inside your enterprise?

5)    Do you have customers or guests who come to your offices or stores expecting wireless access? Your company might even supply mobile applications that these guests use when in your store. If you fit this profile, you need in-building mobile WAN coverage.

6)    What are the comparative costs of enhancing mobile coverage and capacity indoors yourself, versus seeking a managed mobility service solution? This is a biggie, and the answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Your goals will drive your equipment and service choices. The primary in-building service choices are traditional distributed antenna systems (DASs), and small-cell technologies such as femtocells and enterprise radio-access networks (E-RANs).

      • DASs are optimized for fairly large facilities. Traditional DAS setups usually run about $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot in capex and labor, depending on your environment and the number of carriers you need to support. The biggest downside of DASs is the lack of signal reuse to support the denser capacities required, as more users (and apps) go mobile.
      • Small-cell technologies are DAS alternatives for smaller locations that address both the affordability issue and the need to accommodate higher densities of users. They reuse the signal repeatedly throughout buildings for greater, more consistent throughput everywhere.
        • Femtocells are the least expensive (about $100 to $200 each). To date, they are limited in the number of users they can support, and have management and roaming limitations when more than one or two are deployed. With more  femtocells, interference occurs and seamless voice mobility is not supported.
        • An E-RAN is a self-organizing network of small access points. It  leverages the existing wired Ethernet network for local backhaul and switching, and the Internet access connection for WAN backhaul. Each node reuses licensed spectrum to create consistent, dense capacity throughout the coverage area. The sweet spot here are buildings with about 50,000 to 500,000  square feet. The cost of the E-RAN alternative averages 25 cents per square-foot – but that’s the capex cost to the mobile operator. You don’t pay for the equipment; just a monthly service fee (opex).

7)    Do you trust your mobile operator to partner with you for mobility, and later, cloud-based applications and services? This is probably the biggest question. It has been traditionally difficult for organizations to get operators’ attention for coverage in 50,000 – 500,000 square-foot buildings. Why trust them now? Well, the onus is on the operator to offer you an in-building system and services in a financially sensible manner. The best way to answer this question is to start asking your operator about the availability of such services, the terms, and the capabilities.

Where Does Wi-Fi Fit?

In the meantime, though, you probably have some Wi-Fi in place. Do the internal Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks dovetail? How do you stitch the disparate networks together into a cohesive mobile network?

If you have a self-organizing system for mobility indoor cellular services, there might be an advantage to asking the operator – once it has proven itself with cellular – to flip on one extra switch and support your Wi-Fi, too. Carriers are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi offload strategies to alleviate congestion on mobile WANs, and are also starting to integrate their cellular and Wi-Fi network cores at the subscription management and data plane levels. Eventually, your operator could take over the worry of seamlessly transferring your users on and off the “best” available (and least-cost) network service as traffic loads ebb and flow.

On the other hand, the business-class Wi-Fi vendors have spent a decade honing their systems with advanced RF planning, management and security tools. Ask your mobile operator whether those capabilities would be available to help you control your Wi-Fi network the way you prefer, or whether you would have to give some of that up.

Consider, for example, migration strategies from 802.11n to 802.11ac. You’re going to want to eventually dump the 2.4GHz band for exclusive use of the 5GHz band to make use of emerging 802.11ac equipment, which can reach speeds of 1Gbps. Will your mobile network operator have the expertise to help you “band-steer” 5GHz-capable clients into the band, or are you better off turning to established Wi-Fi specialists known to have such capabilities?

Finally, what’s your strategy for indoor mobile voice calls? Do you keep folks on the cellular network? Should you build out your Wi-Fi network for voice support? This can be a costly endeavor: You need very dense coverage and full QoS support on what is an unlicensed network, accessed on a contention basis. Merging your mobile WAN and Wi-Fi networks to operate as a unified system, with the best infrastructure, seamlessly accommodating traffic at any given moment based on conditions, is one approach. The other is to optimize your in-building mobile WAN for voice, while keeping Wi-Fi deployments in place for “free”, and/or overflow data transmissions.

Users Weigh In

The user community has many questions about mobility as a service – that is, trusting a mobile network operator to install and manage on-premises cellular equipment to deliver dense mobile WAN signals and capacity. A partner in a cellular optimization company said he would be more open to mobility as a service from mobile operators for in-building coverage, and for Wi-Fi as well, if the terms were reasonable.

“I would trust them to extend their coverage into our building, provided we had…no additional long-term commitment,” he said. “Many times the carriers ask for a three to five year commitment. Two, I can live with. It would be good to have some form of SLA to ensure compliance.”

The partner continued: “Wi-Fi would be much harder to trust them with. For example…what security can we administer, and what will be [the operator’s] responsibility? Are there service, speed and uptime guarantees? It is appealing to have one less thing to take care of, and scary at the same time. [My] first thought is that the benefits outweigh the risks, provided [there are] acceptable terms and answers to our questions.”

There are also misconceptions to clear up.

One enterprise public safety manager said he would like to understand how extending the cellular signal into a building would impact Phase I and Phase II wireless location discovery for 911 calls. “If they are ‘extending’ an existing antenna that is down the street, your callers may show up as ‘down the street’ if they dial 911. Not good,” he said.

Actually, in-building small cells don’t extend an existing macro network “antenna”; they create new spectrum using small, self-contained base stations and antennas traffic-engineered throughout the building. If managed cohesively by operators as one segment of the overall macro network, as in the case of the E-RAN, the extended coverage and capacity should actually bode well for enhancing 911 location discovery, compared to having spotty in-building coverage, or none at all.

Upshot

Most mobile WAN voice and data calls are initiated indoors. If you need to support mobile WAN users anywhere on your campus, new options are making it possible for carriers to offer you affordable, managed mobility services that require no capex investments on your part. Scalable small cell systems, for reliable indoor coverage and capacity, are available today that were not available just a year ago. Should you trust the mobile operator – who ultimately decides what equipment is allowed to run in its licensed spectrum anyway? The only way to find out is to start asking questions, and test the equipment and the relationship.

– Joanie Wexler, Guest Blogger


Infrastructure Intersections and Quality of Experience: The New Role of the Mobile Operator (Part 3)

November 19, 2012

This post was inspired by an article in AGL Magazine covering Cisco’s Keynote at the PCIA Wireless Infrastructure Conference and 4G World tweet @4GWorld: “Coverage, capacity & services need to be re-considered”. At 4G World, the Wi-Fi panels really talked to the evolving conversation that includes both licensed (Mobile Operator) and unlicensed (Wi-Fi) Wireless Services as part of delivering great services to mobile device owners. We, at SpiderCloud, see that there is a wave of services innovation on the horizon that has the capacity to make life better for both the mobile operators and the device owners.

The innovations will occur primarily in two areas:

  • “The plumbing” at the intersection of the three radio planes (3G, Wi-Fi, and LTE), plus the Enterprise, Internet, and the Mobile Operator core.
  • Increasing the quality of the client side experience for Mobile device owners.

SpiderCloud’s architecture exposes the plumbing intersection inside the enterprise premise because our Services Node, along with the heavy lifting it does delivering the three radio interfaces, is a common transit point at this intersection. The architectural air-gap between the mobile operator and the enterprise is available at this intersection to create a family of invisible services that add value to customer experiences. By “invisible”, we mean the device owner should not have to do any configuration, and the services should work like magic.

We envision invisible services such as:

  • Clientless Unified Communications
  • Multiple Layers of Wi-Fi Services (for various purposes)
  • Hotspot 2.0 (connected to operators planet wide roaming backend)
  • Location Based Services
  • Web Security/Content Filtering
  • Private 3G Data into Enterprise

On the quality of the client side experience, this is a long-term journey for the industry as a whole. The term “Quality of Experience” as used in conferences and publications tends to focus on network performance, throughput, dropped calls, and other KPI’s. However, it is useful to expand the term to include improvements to user experience of the mobile device owner, at the device’s human interface.

Example 1: Hotspot 2.0 solves the friction problem with authentication. At Informa’s Wi-Fi World Summit (September 2012 – Barcelona), one of the presenting Operators had a 5x increase in hotspot use by simply enabling automatic EAP authentication. This was a direct illustration that if process barriers are removed, people will consume.

Example 2: There are missing mechanisms in Wi-Fi management that need improvement. Many airports offer Wi-Fi that is not usable at peak hours (too slow or unable to connect). The problem can be solved in the infrastructure by preventing new connections during peaks, or the Wi-Fi clients need a common approach to deciding on what network to use for data. An intelligent network select algorithm in clients could make a decision to fallback to 3G/LTE data when the mobile device’s Wi-Fi client accesses a congested Wi-Fi. For non-technical device owners, switching Wi-Fi on and off, depending on the perceived performance, is something that could be addressed in the software and mask the complexity.

In summary, lots of innovation to come, from embracing 3G/LTE and Wi-Fi together, that will ultimately result in increasing both the magical (hard to measure) and service (easy to measure) KPI components of our Quality of Experience thinking in the industry.

Thanks for checking in.

Your Author’s Point of View: As a former Enterprise Infrastructure Architect (Mobility/Collaboration at Nike, Inc), the opportunities for mobile operators to help address enterprise Unified Communications, COPE/BYOD, and mobility challenges for enterprise IT departments are there. Opportunities to cultivate value-added services beyond coverage and capacity in the Enterprise space are built upon strong customer relationships and a proven technical foundation. Positive mindshare and perceptions in the eyes of the Enterprise buyers will create invitations to future opportunities.

A new and more important role is emerging for Mobile Operators where enterprise mobility and value-added IP services are part of the ‘package.’ Mobile is the heartbeat of any organization and wireless is the Digital Oxygen that our devices breathe at home and on the road.

For information on the SpiderCloud Architecture: read more and watch movie.
Webinar: What services do CIO’s really want from their mobile network operator?

Want to talk? Please contact me.

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