(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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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:
- Mobile World Recap - Barron's
- Mobile World Congress 2014 - Small Cell Report - ThinkSmallCell
- Wireless Infrastructure - RCR Wireless
- Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO