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Small Cell Suspense and "Edge of Innovation" at #MWC15
March 02, 2015

At Mobile World Congress (#MWC15), Cisco today announced commercial availability of its new Universal Small Cell (USC) 8000 Series designed for large enterprises and venues. This solution is the result of collaboration between Cisco and SpiderCloud Wireless, and will be offered to Cisco’s enterprise customers and channel partners. The global agreement includes Cisco reselling SpiderCloud’s entire small cell portfolio under the USC 8000 Series brand.  In addition, SpiderCloud will develop custom small cell technology for Cisco to include 3G and 4G radio modules into the Aironet 3600/3700 Wi-Fi access points.

This is indeed big news! Scott Morrison, VP/GM for Cisco's Small Cell Technology Group summarized it nicely:

“Partnering with SpiderCloud, Cisco now has an unsurpassed and complete end-to-end small cell and Wi-Fi solution for mobile operators and their enterprise customers. Working with Vodafone enables us to give enterprise customers a complete, high-quality mobile experience in every building, helping them transform the role of mobility in their business.”

So, look out Ericsson and Huawei, as products in the new small cell portfolio are available immediately, including Cisco's USC 8088 Controller which provides real-time coordination and distributed SON capability for up to 100-sector LTE/3G radios, enough to effectively cover the largest of enterprise customers and buildings.  Vodafone is the first service provider to have its enterprise customers benefit from the global agreement.

“Working with Cisco and SpiderCloud, we will be able to offer our enterprise customers a highly flexible small cell system that can be deployed rapidly and cost-effectively to enhance the quality of the mobile and Wi-Fi coverage our customers rely on to run their businesses."
-  Matt Beal, Director of Innovation and Architecture, Vodafone Group.

As our CEO (Mike Gallagher) puts it, this is a "market changer! "Our partnership with Cisco will speed up small cell deployments to benefit large enterprise customers worldwide."

The beneficiaries of this global agreement are mobile operators who are serious about providing mobile in-building coverage, capacity and managed services to enterprise customers and venue owners. With Cisco’s existing enterprise customers and channel partners, mobile operators now have access to a complete end-to-end small cell and Wi-Fi solution, and access to a new enterprise customer base.



At #MWC15, we are showcasing how enterprise customers benefit from a scalable small cell system.

  • Improved Performance for Coverage and Capacity
    - Carrier Aggregation: New Dual-band radio nodes, designed to offer simultaneous 3G/LTE service or dual-carrier LTE service, are software upgradeable to support Carrier Aggregation with peak rates up to 300 Mbps.
  • Pre and Post Installation Capabilities
    - Radio Nodes with Integrated Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon, improve an already easy installation process, improve inventory management, and ease post-installation system maintenance, driving down the carrier’s total cost of ownership for large, scalable indoor small cell deployments. Radio Nodes with integrated Bluetooth beacons works in conjunction with SpiderCloud’s award-winning E-RAN iOS and Android app.
  • New Managed Services Opportunities
    - Virtualized functions and hosted services on the Services Node. SpiderCloud will demonstrate enterprise-specific content filtering and group/individual policy examples with Intel Security. These policies make it possible for enterprise IT to deploy a high-capacity LTE system without compromising its acceptable use policies.
    - New Radio Node with Low Energy Bluetooth beacons opens the door for localization and context services within large enterprise offices, malls and venues.
  • Multi-Operator Support
    - New dual-band LTE Radio Nodes can be shared by two operators via a software upgrade. Dual-band LTE radios support 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz channels, with peak rates of 150 Mbps per band, and VoLTE. Operators will have option to share their dual-band SpiderCloud LTE system with partner operators (multi-operator RAN), while maintaining strict separation of traffic and services, through a software upgrade.

See and read more about fast innovations and small cell installations on our newly refreshed web site www.spidercloud.com

Today, SpiderCloud's partner NEC also announced that Avea in Turkey is rolling out a scalable small cell system with solutions from NEC and Spidercloud. And most recently, SpiderCloud with Emtel, announced that Warid Telecom in Pakistan is bringing 4G to its customers.

With our partners, we will continue to innovate and bring scalable small cell systems, with access to cloud-enabled services, to our customers. We are indeed at the "Edge of Innovation" - this year's theme at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Ronny Haraldsvik
SVP/CMO
SpiderCloud Wireless
Twitter: @haraldsvik

What’s Around the Corner? “Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer”
December 22, 2014

Grandma got run over by a reindeer. Walking home from our house Christmas Eve. You can say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and grandpa we believe.” There are many songs for the Holidays, but this one gets me into the right mood (for many reasons). :-)

As we start to enjoy our Holiday break with friends and family and recharge our batteries for 2015, we can reflect back on an exciting year in the wireless world.

In 2014, mobile innovations brought us the early days of wearable devices, and the beginnings of the connected home. Apple and Samsung continued to push the size limits of mobile devices. Mobile consolidation efforts continued with Softbank and Sprint, plus T-Mobile USA brought us low-low pricing battles.

For SpiderCloud, 2014 was a breakthrough year for many reasons. We saw customer adoption and traction for our dual-band Radio, and the industry awarded us with many awards:

2015 has the earmark for more monumental shifts in the mobile landscape. Overall, we should expect a continued focus on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in enterprise and mobile networks, edge and cloud services and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to drive network transformation as the industry moves from CapEx to OpEx.

Big Data will grow as enterprise IT vendors and mobile carriers alike leverage data analysis for localization content, context and services for advertising and brand loyalty. There will be continued focus on data security for data center services, as well as in the enterprise and at home. Mobile network evolution to LTE and beyond continues, especially as ‘wearables’ and the growth of the “Internet of Things” make the case for improved use of higher spectrum for last mile access to enhance our quest for an “always-on” experience. 

Here are my predictions for 2015 for the mobile space (Note: these predictions are my own personal views and not SpiderCloud Wireless’s point of view, nor company opinions).

Mobile macro networks will see OpEx spend match CapEx spend by years end. 

Network infrastructure spending is expected to be flat, but thanks to the rise of cloud services over the last few years, 2015 will mark the year that OpEx overtakes CapEx and never looks back. Even Deutsche Bank is eyeing this trend, as both carrier and enterprise IT is looking to cloud; SaaS; subscriptions and service contracts will make up the majority of spending in the year ahead. 

Expect small cells and software to dominate network build out to handle the need for mobile capacity.

Flat macro-cellular spending means the shift is going to be on small cell build-outs and services rather than the traditional macro-focused infrastructure spending we’ve seen in the past. Mobile carriers will be looking for ways to enhance coverage in high-density areas using small cell networks. Expect to see in-building Enterprise services to become the new battleground for mobile carriers by years end.

The move from 3G to 4G and then 5G, is a long journey.

Unlike the previous mobile telephony generations that were defined by technology, 5G hopefully will soon be officially defined by service levels. Personally, I do not expect 5G to not be about the air link or access method, speed or spectrum, rather it will be about service level and quality of service. 3G has a long tail and will co-exist with 4G for another decade.

BYOD and DIY mobile in the enterprise “rightsize”.

Businesses realize that BYOD is a misdiagnosis of a larger problem when trying to solve in-building mobility issues and security concerns. Originally trumpeted as a smart fiscal move, CIOs and CFOs begin to realize that without the relationships and economies of scale, enterprises begin to see its employees are treated like regular consumers. CIOs realize that corporate IT are security savvy, but not mobility experts, and lean on mobile operators to fix mobility problems. For large enterprises, Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) devices with secure application containers becomes the preferred methods to deal with mobility, security and cost-containment by corporate IT, CIOs and professionals alike.

Smart Buildings become a strong trend in the Enterprise.

The expected increase in wearable and connected devices, due in part by significantly lower prices as companies fight for adoption, will add a significant strain on the already-strained enterprise Wi-Fi networks, creating opportunities for 3G/4G in-building mobility solutions and services from mobile operators and computing partners. Within the next 2 years, wireless and mobile traffic demands inside the enterprise will double. This will mean IT departments will need help to better cope with dynamic capacity demands while focusing on security. Simply banning non-essential devices is not a move that works as early adopters always find work-around methods. Rather, the savvy enterprise IT team will look for ways to prioritize application usage and/or cloud-source a large majority of network functions.

Gigabit Consumption becomes the norm, as we look ahead.

100-Gigabit mobile family usage plans and Ethernet-to-the-home to become the norm. By the end of 2015, individual usage will start to reach 2 Gb on average and 3-5 Gb for the top 10%. By 2018, when you hear 100 Gb pricing plans, you won’t blink an eye.

Ethernet-to-the-home (ETTH) will be favored over fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in major metropolitan areas. ETTH not only addressed the growing bandwidth demands of the consumer, but it better favors business deployments making it a more cost-effective way to bring a big pipe to over 75% of highly populated areas. This broad coverage translates to around 10% of all deployment areas giving carriers a one-two punch on both consumer and enterprise deployments.

The “big surprise” in 2015?

A space Odyssey: Should we be surprised if a company like Google acquires a space company to compete with SpaceX and Virgin Galactic for space travel and exploration? 

Enjoy your Holidays. See you in the New Year. And, be careful out there. Who knows what Santa’s been drinking as he travels the globe with his merry reindeers.

“I've warned all my friends and neighbors. Better watch out for yourselves, they should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.”

Happy New Year.

- Ronny Haraldsvik
SVP/CMO

Twitter: haraldsvik
spidercloud_inc

“…Just Another Brick In the Wall”?
December 12, 2014

I first heard this song in early December ’79, just after its release, now 35 years ago. We have all rebelled against something or someone at one part in our lives. “We don't need no thought control” and “Hey! teacher! leave us kids alone!" -- Pink Floyd’s music was relevant back then, and it’s relevant now. Roger Waters’s song (Education, Part II) is a protest song against rigid schooling in general and boarding schools.

Behind the brick wall, when you look beyond the one-page “Wall Mounting Kit” for easy to install radio heads (Huawei or Ericsson) you will find the undisclosed pages 2 through 99, and a long list of items needed to make radio heads (DAS) work.

Beyond the simple radio head, you’ll find dedicated cables (CPRI or Cat7a) that are connected to Indoor Radio Units (IRU), which then connects to dedicated Digital Units (DU) with maximum 12 sectors (IRU) per DU for each access technology (LTE or 3G). Each IRU connects to a DU via Fiber and the DU then connects back to the Ericsson RNC (for 3G), or the LTE EPC. Keep in mind that CPRI or Cat7a is not basic Ethernet. Nor can Radio DOT be deployed using existing Ethernet (via VLAN). It takes special handling and expertise to handle Fiber or Cat 7a cables. If you are deploying Radio Dot, Cat7a is not exactly a commonly used cable inside the Enterprise, and can cost 3-4x more per cable than Cat 5/6.

When you are maintaining or deploying DAS, your list of equipment is quite long. A plan could include over 30 different components, special cables and modules.

  • Coax, connectors, splitters or special cabling (Cat7a) which requires special handling
  • Cross band couplers, optical interfaces, boosters, housing panels, etc.
  • Master unit for optical Tx/Rx
  • Power supply and low power ‘Point of Interface’ or you may need Active DAS Tray Point of Interface
  • Male and Female connectors
  • Omni antennas, directional, MIMO or SIS0 directional
  • Coax cables and support for various type of mounts (roof, ceiling, basement, etc.), weatherproofing, sealant, etc.
  • Fiber Extenders
  • Sub-rack for the DC Remote PSU Modules
  • Tri-plexer for each access method
  • Accessory kits and stacking kits, etc.
  • AC/DC Converters for 66W or 100W
  • Fan Modules
  • And then there are the attenuators… and so on - It’s a long list

Cabling the Bricks in the Wall

On the outside, a CPRI or Cat7a cable may look similar to Cat-5/6 Ethernet, but make no mistake, it’s not. It takes a specialist to handle this, and enterprise people know this. IT people cringe when special cables are involved. Why?

Certain cables cannot be bent, crushed or “stressed”. Every cable has values for minimum bend radius and maximum “tensile loading”. (Yes - look it up if you need a good night’s sleep). Some special cables cannot hang freely for long distances or press against edges in an installation. Example: When pulling cable in conduit, all transition points must be kept smooth. In short, every cable must be treated like a baby!

As for the installation, this is where it becomes “fun.” Conduit runs are limited to 100 feet! And, you cannot have more than two 90-degree bends between pull points or boxes! Even working at night, conducting core drilling between floors for conduits with jam-packed risers in-building is also a logistics nightmare. Yes, you heard me. Electronic Industries Association/Telecommunications Industry Association 569, which is the Commercial Building Standard for Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces, even provides more granular details, if you care to find out.

And then there are building codes for optical-fiber cables, keeping in mind maximum recommended distance between main and intermediate cross-connects (4920 feet), and intermediate and horizontal cross-connects recommendations. Single-mode fiber has other regulations. In some cases, telecoms equipment is connected directly to an intermediate or main cross-connect, where connecting cables can be no longer than 98 feet. 

We could go on and on. The point is, CPRI is not Ethernet. It’s not simple Cat5/6 Ethernet pull. You need experts. See a good installation checklist overview here.

“Designed by R&D for use in Labs”

If you are contemplating Ericsson’s Radio Dot, keep in mind that you will need lots of Radio Dots and special Cat7a cabling to each of the Dots to power the 100mw radio heads. To “home run” each radio Dot over Cat 7 to/from the Indoor Remote Unit (IRU) means big install cost and several racks of equipment in the data center (Enterprise), considering you can only power 8 Radio Dots per IRU (LTE or 3G) and up to 12 IRU per DU. Each 14-unit rack powers a maximum of 96 Cat7a connected 100mw Radio Heads (or 48 LTE and 48 3G 100mw radio heads). Radio Heads by access technology: If you need 3G and LTE, then you need 2 Radio Heads (one each) which means double the amount of Cat7a cable pull. In brief, 3G+LTE means two full racks (14U each) of equipment if you require maximum reach with 96 100mw radio heads for 3G and LTE coverage. Of course, you will need special installation teams since this is a complicated installation.  Each rack (14u each) limits a 3G + LTE DAS coverage (48 3G + 48 100mw radios) to a maximum 250 to 300,000 square feet. A dual-band deployment would require two full racks, and total 110-120 100mw radios, each with a Cat7a cable pull. So, when you see the Radio Dot, you may think it’s simple.  When you understand what is needed behind the wall to power the Dot, you’ll question the establishment just like Pink Floyd. You’ll soon find out that ideas designed by R&D, for use in labs, may not be suitable in real-life enterprise environments.


Ericsson image of Radio DOT posted on Twitter.
Also see http://www.ericsson.com/thecompany/press/mediakits/radio-dot-system

The IT Friendly Approach

SpiderCloud Wireless has an IT-friendly approach with E-RAN.  The E-RAN system is proven to scale to 100 Radio Nodes (sectors), all powered over Ethernet LAN (or VLAN) with one Services Node, which provides one secure connection to the mobile core. First to market with a dual-mode 3G/4G system, the SCRN-310 Dual-band Radio Node has been in commercial networks since June 2014. It’s the first small cell, as part of a larger system, that’s capable of connecting 32 active users via the 3G band, while at the same time connecting 32 active users (128 RRC) via the LTE band (on one integrated SoC). The same Radio Node can now be software upgraded to switch the 3G band to 4G, making it capable of dual-band 4G+4G (150 Mbps), connecting 64 active users via the same Radio Node.

A dual-band 3G+4G deployment using SpiderCloud would only require one Services Node (1 unit in a rack) and require 25-30 SCRN-310 Radio Nodes (250 mw). The cost advantage for equipment and installation (as compared to Ericsson or Huawei) vs. DAS (radio heads) is 4-5x!

The Radio Node has a pedestal base that slides into a long bracket for ceiling or wall mounting. SpiderCloud Wireless pre-bolts the pedestal base onto the extrusion plate on the Radio Node.

Radio Nodes can be mounted on a wide number of surfaces including the following typical surfaces:

  • • Light grill: Use bolts, nuts and washers to secure the mount bracket using holes in the light grill. Adjust the mounting bracket until the bracket and light grill holes align.
  • • Mount directly on the wall or ceiling: Use drywall screws to secure the mount bracket directly to sheetrock or plasterboard on the wall or ceiling.

Installing a small cell should be as easy as installing a basic enterprise Wi-Fi AP, such as using a T-rail ceiling rail to avoid drilling holes in ceiling tiles.

The Radio Node is fully compliant with the IEEE 802.3at Power Over Ethernet (PoE+) specification. Per IEEE 802.3at, use standard Cat 5e, or better, twisted-pair cable with a maximum length restriction of 100 meters (328 feet) for PoE+.

Power is distributed over two pairs of the four available pairs in Cat 5e or better cables. The Radio Node can accept power on either used, or un-used pairs.

Usage of Ethernet LAN Deployment

By usage of standard enterprise Ethernet and a Radio Node installation process that is familiar with the very large pool of Wi-Fi trained installation companies, the cost of physical installation is significantly reduced as compared to telecommunications technologies that require specialized labor.

The optimal installations share the existing enterprise transport infrastructure to enable faster installation, and reduce capital construction costs for materials.

See the 60-second installation video: http://youtu.be/Q8V070ggyuA

SpiderCloud’s Self Organizing Network (SON) capability configures and optimizes the small cell network to provide a high-performance mobile broadband coverage with very little user intervention. SON is a core product feature that dramatically reduces installation time, fine-tunes the network for high performance, and periodically optimizes the environment to maintain effective network operation. Without this feature, an installer would have to setup the network manually, requiring many weeks (depending on the network complexity) to create an optimal working configuration. However, as a result of this unique feature, the system is auto configured in less than an hour, thereby automating a fairly complex configuration and dramatically reducing the time-to-install.

See the 60-second installation video: http://youtu.be/Q8V070ggyuA

Besides reducing time-to-install, the feature ensures optimal RF coverage and handoff within the SpiderCloud network, and with macro and inter-RAT networks. During network operation, this feature continually monitors the RF environment, makes adjustments to the radio transmit power to adapt to any changes in the RF conditions, and maintains optimal network access.

No More “thought control”

So, if you agree, “We don't need no thought control” and you’d want an IT-friendly approach to fixing in-building coverage and capacity, easy as Wi-Fi, -- then you too can protest against rigid cabling and installation procedures. You have a choice. If you plan to install something in an Enterprise, look to the companies which know and understand enterprise IT requirements.

The E-RAN 3G system is already commercially proven for three years. Other SpiderCloud Wireless customers include Vodafone UK, Vodafone Netherlands, and now also Verizon Wireless, plus leading mobile operators across several continents.

- Ronny Haraldsvik
SVP/CMO

Twitter: haraldsvik
spidercloud_inc

Don’t forget to sign up for the December 18th Intel-SpiderCloud Webinar: “In-Building Small Cell Services Opportunities for Enterprise IT and Mobile Operators” – hosted by HeavyReading.

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile as the Foundation for Enterprise Innovation
October 31, 2014

Smartphones have been unprecedented in their impact on a wide range of consumers, from individuals to global enterprises. When coupled with mobile networks for ubiquitous coverage and capacity, smartphones have the ability to commoditize innovation. What is “commoditized innovation”? Very simply, it’s a concept that can be developed, at a relatively low cost, into an application and be shared globally in a rapid manner.

Commoditized innovation share these common factors:

  • Low cost mobile devices: Manufacturing volume drives down unit costs.
  • Apple iOS and Google Android platforms: Devices and associated App stores reach all corners of the globe.
  • Mobile Software developers and open development environments: The pool of global talent that can build Apps is very large and diverse.
  • Mobile Services: These low cost services are embedded in the mobile operator’s network, and have uses in both personal and business App roles.  
  • Mobile Networks: Mobile operators reach all corners of the globe with their networks, meeting their subscribers indoor and outdoor coverage and capacity needs.

The Sun is Setting for Proprietary Communications Services

In many industrial and commercial environments, there can be numerous layers of communications technology like VHF/UHF walkie-talkies, pagers, VoIP handsets or badges, laptops, smartphones, tablets and other purpose built technology. Plus, each technology has an RF transmission medium that has it’s own coverage footprint within the facility they are used in, each footprint may cover all or part of the facility, and they all may be owned and managed by different departments.

This mix of communications technologies are impairments to innovation and, when the employees look at their smartphones, they believe that their existing communications technologies fall short of what they use in their personal lives. The impairments to innovation are numerous, but all of them revolve around failing to achieve economies of scale such that innovation is either impossible or too expensive to accomplish.

Innovation impairments include things such as:

  • High unit costs for the personal technology because the supplier makes 10’s of thousands, where a mobile handset supplier makes 10’s of millions.
  • Many of the personal technologies are single function. Just voice, paging or data. And there is no market demand for a higher function device at the price point that has to be charged to recover manufacturing costs.
  • With multiple RF mediums in-house, there is no easy way to improve indoor signals for all employee devices. Each one has to be uniquely dealt with, if at all.
  • There may be significant personnel overhead in “shadow IT”. “Shadow IT” are people who are performing an IT role (in this case, Telecom) who report to and are funded by a department.
  • Software developers, SDK’s, and other tools to do software innovation and integrate these proprietary systems into the back office IT systems that operate the business, are either not available or prohibitively expensive.

Mobile Platforms to the Rescue

Envision these same industrial and commercial environments with an RF environment that, in addition to global coverage, reaches every part of the facility (bring on the Small Cell technology!). Then add in common handset families (iOS and Android) that have a huge pool of off the shelf Apps, software developers and developer tools. It’s a recipe for innovation because these ecosystems conquer the economies of scale problem as they were always conceived - to scale to Billions of mobile devices.

Mobile innovation is fuelled by:

  • Low costs, high function personal technology in the form of smartphones and tablets.
  • The incumbent smartphone features, public Apps,and privately developed Apps with back office integration enable all employees to have much more power and information at their fingertips, along with fast access to any employee that they have to contact.
  • With a single RF medium in-house combined with Small Cell Networks, there IS an easy way to improve indoor signals for all employee devices.
  • All the funding allocated to “shadow IT” can be put to more productive use for the business.
  • Software developers, SDK’s and other tools to do software innovation and integration into the back office IT systems that operate the business are easily available and competitively priced.

Enterprise IT can best serve their employees and business units by consciously establishing a long-term innovation platform on mobile technology that enables the elimination of other legacy technologies that have inherent limitations that an individual enterprise cannot solve. The mobile platform approach, as it evolves over the next 5 years, will be become a competitive advantage for the enterprises that effectively embrace and exploit it. Mobility is the foundation for enterprise Innovation, if you let it be. Exciting times.

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

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