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Enterprise Small Cell Deployment Insights
March 13, 2014

The Do’s & Don’ts of the Enterprise Small Cells Lifecycle

In our work with mobile operators to accelerate small cell systems inside medium to large enterprises, we have learned much over the last five years to create win-win formulas for enterprise IT and our mobile operator customers. It is hard-earned knowledge that only a seasoned executive team could have anticipated and managed by an experienced field team.

So, in the spirit of sharing our knowledge, here are “5 Small Cell System Do’s and Don’ts of Enterprise.”

Do’s

Establish operator brand preference. This is the number one Do as it creates a sales foundation that is tangible and can be talked about to the enterprise IT customer. Branding and stratifying small cells offerings enables customer self service for product selection and easy to understand positioning for the operator’s sales force.

Small Cell Customer Segmentation:

  • Residential: Standalone Femtocell
  • SMB: Enterprise Femtocell
  • Medium-Large Enterprise: SpiderCloud E-RAN

A Normal Operator-Enterprise Conversation:
Customer: “I have very poor indoor coverage or service experience. Can you help?”
Sales Rep: “Let me show you our available offerings.”

Or, for a Sales Rep with no product offering: “Let me file a report and our engineers will look into it…”

Which response do you think creates brand preference from the enterprise IT director?

Empower the pre-sales force. There’s an APP for that” (article quote). The EASY-30 smartphone application enables Sales teams to swiftly identify customer requirements for in-building small cell systems and starts the business approval process at the first point of contact, in response to a customer concern with in-building coverage and capacity.

Imagine the surprise and brand preference that an agile and responsive mobile operator can create when a sales rep is empowered to start the review/approval process immediately.

Leverage existing Ethernet infrastructure. There is nothing more empowering than an enterprise team participating in solving the problems for their internal business customers. A cornerstone of EASY-30 deployment is leveraging the installed enterprise infrastructure (private VLAN) and the facility knowledge of the employees. A winning relationship for something as fundamental as making mobility work everywhere enables other services conversations to be openly received in the future.

Supply chain integration. Small cell systems that can scale, have lower price points and less deployment complexities than traditional in-building DAS, and can be deployed in days vs. months. This expands the total addressable market of enterprise customers that can be cost-justified for coverage and capacity investments. With the EASY-30 lifecycle and simplified operational procedures, mobile operators can use their supply chain to scale up and automate the fulfillment of the inbound requests to address and deploy systems for thousands of enterprise customers per year vs. hundreds.

Enable an eco system of implementation partners. We are on the early side of the small cell lifecycle. Any company who can install an enterprise Wi-Fi system should be able to install a scalable small cell system for medium to large enterprise customers.  The potential “winners” are the incumbent INDOOR cellular contractors that are adding small cells to the installation portfolio. The operator relationship with enterprise IT is directly correlated to the strength of the implementation partner. 

Don’ts

Over-Engineering. When you have a Self-Organizing/Self-Optimizing “SON” system like the E-RAN implements, trust it to do the “heavy lifting.” The EASY-30 approach and SON enable the system to configure itself at commissioning time. Adding engineering and planning resources early in the mobile operator learning curve is OK to help RAN engineers build a comfort level, but after trust is built, these additional resources can both slow the process and damage the business case. Unlike DAS, a scalable small cell system with SON does not require a heavy-handed RF engineering approach.

Complicated pricing models. There are two ways mobile operators are currently offering an E-RAN system:

  • Amount of devices and cash flow from the account justify the operator to directly fund the coverage and capacity improvement.
  • Enterprise IT provides the funding for the coverage and capacity improvement.

In cases where enterprise IT provides funding, keep the charging structure simple and straightforward. The benefit to the mobile operator is the ability to create a repeatable and easy-to-understand invoicing process on the billing platform.

Outside of monthly billing, cost recovery can be a monthly lump sum, or per-device line charge over a term.

A simplified pricing structure increases enterprise IT satisfaction with the mobile operator. 

Lose sight of longer-term services opportunities. There are a host of possible managed mobile services opportunities available to mobile operators who look beyond basic coverage and capacity. Exact Ventures, in their market study, showed a path to profitable managed services using a small cell system capable of enabling services. Such services examples were also demonstrated by Vodafone, Intel and IBM at Mobile World Congress 2014.

As the blurring of lines between enterprise and mobile operator technologies increase, there are a number of template services that are well suited for mobile operators to provide, that leverages the point of presence inside the enterprise by establishing trust between the operator and the enterprise with improved coverage and capacity.  In-building mobility services are a golden opportunity to strengthen brand preference for mobile operators and the go-to-market partners. See more in this market study.

Underestimate enterprise customers. Enterprise IT people can be your smartest and, yet, your most difficult customers. There are many cost and business pressures in IT that can translate into a win-win for both parties. To enable the move from 80% Capex to 80% Opex in the IT services arena requires a long-term migration in both technology and thinking. Find your smart mobility architects in medium-large enterprises and absorb their vision. In turn, share your vision with them. Goals: create trust in direction and joint collaborative skills.  Move from Dating (SIM’s and Devices) to Marriage (deep services and shared IT relationships).

Hold back channels. Mobile operators cannot fulfill the myriad amount of needs coming from the enterprise IT base. Enabling a set of trusted channel partners to build and implement E-RAN for these buyers is very important. A CTO at a mobile operator was pondering with us the concept of “Bring Your Own Network” where the enterprise buys E-RAN and the operator supplies the transmission link to the mobile core. There are many logistics and operational considerations around shape of ownership model, but even this type of conversation illustrates that we are in the midst of major changes in mindset.  Create, use, and evolve your channels to meet the unmet needs of enterprise IT and enable service opportunities.

While these five Do’s and Don’ts only scratch the surface, the issues beyond small cell technologies are more important in the longer term. As an ex-mobile strategist in a multinational enterprise, I was driving for the emergence of platforms and tools that made the internal cost model better and satisfied our business customers. I assure you, that there are thousands of enterprise mobility people awaiting your call.

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

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

“And Then There Were Three”...
March 07, 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

A Mobile Enterprise Without Visible Wi-Fi?
February 05, 2014

Over the past 1 & 1/2 years, we have discussed many different dimensions of Wi-Fi, small cells, and user behaviors -- with a primary focus on the Enterprise experience. During the past few months we have had a number of meetings that brought to life some interesting questions and challenges.

Mobile operator questions focused on:

  • Is Wi-Fi going to be a fully supported RAN to the mobile operators?
  • Is Wi-Fi a bridge to LTE for mobile operators?
  • Is Wi-Fi destined to be a self-offload tool for residential and enterprise?
  • When will voice over LTE become real (and when will we have international roaming)?
  • What about 3G (voice fall back), we still need it for many years, so what do we do?

Enterprise IT questions (in response) were:

  • “This is not Wi-Fi, right? We don’t want anything from a mobile operator to interfere with our Wi-Fi.” Global IT Director
  • “Where we have control of a building, we want to own all the Wi-Fi, by policy.” Global Wireless Architect
  • “If spectral re-use, enabled by small cells, alleviates LTE spectrum capacity problems, where does Wi-Fi fit?” CTO from a major mobile operator
  • “Why should we invest in operationalizing yet another RAN [Wi-Fi] when there is no clear revenue model?” RAN Engineering Director from a global mobile operator

From our vantage point, the device owners (aka Enterprise) don’t have a stake in the RAN question, as they are seeking something totally different. Device owners want their Quality of Experience “QoE” to be the best available. There is no concern with how the device manufacturers or mobile operator may implement it. Read more about this in a prior blog where topic #1 is “Is Wi-Fi still as relevant to mobile devices by 2015, as it is today?

In the last few years, consumers and enterprise subscribers have been conditioned to self-offload onto Wi-Fi due to lack of “magic” access and software that does not work. Remember, free Wi-Fi is not as ubiquitous as most people believe or claimed (anyone who moves around, or travels knows that). In the enterprise, Wi-Fi may only be available for guests, if your sponsor has granted guest access. In some cases, Enterprise Wi-Fi may exclude employee mobile devices completely. We touched on this hot set of issues in "Turn off Wi-Fi" - Could this be the answer?

Enterprises are starting to position their architectures for outside the firewall access for mobile devices. As this strategy extends to conversion of legacy Wi-Fi architectures, having Wi-Fi as a service, dormant but available in the mobile operator RAN has the ability to allow the mobile operator to be in the running as a managed services provider of a set of common wireless infrastructure services – when the enterprise is ready to have such a conversation (after you build trust with them). This was part of our two part series on Blurring of the lines of networks (enterprise Wi-Fi).

Enterprise IT is all about trust-building (Show me NO MORE money spent on hardware!). To be successful in the enterprise, mobile operators need to understand the IT mindset around customer trust, security policies, and operational concerns. The sales cycle for enterprise in managed services, or doing anything that touches their infrastructure is very different than the arms-length relationship of in selling devices and minutes. The initial 10-point discussion of the business and security concerns were laid out in Warning to enterprise IT departments: Use of a Strap-On may have big consequences. Digest these points and it will save you millions.

What’s our take on the questions raised at the front end?

Mobile device client software will continue to move to being “magic” where the decision on the use of Wi-Fi or LTE will be both more intelligent and automatic. In the case of small cells where the performance bottleneck is not spectrum, staying on LTE will be preferred. Apple and Google will be the leaders in providing solutions to RAN selection that moves us forward from today’s situation.

Wi-Fi as a fully supported RAN to the mobile operators? We think that if this third RAN does not have a clear business case to build, providers like an iPass or Devicescape will satisfy the immediate need. For enterprise installations where a single truck roll is desired, our technology may be deployed with the Wi-Fi infrastructure present, but turned off. This investment positions the mobile operator to ask for the enterprise Wi-Fi business in the future.

Wi-Fi may be a bridge to LTE for mobile operators indoors where backhaul and spectrum are not constrained. A mobile operator who has sufficient capacity to satisfy their customers in most use cases may choose LTE and consider Wi-Fi as a future reserve, or something that device owners manage themselves.

Wi-Fi is a great self-managed tool for residential and enterprise. We device owners are well trained to configure for it. To take it beyond self-managed, the connection automation transparency, owner costs, and consumption rules will need to be clearly addressed over time. The challenge to the mobile industry is self-managed terrestrial Wi-Fi is a sunk cost and provides unlimited usage.

VoLTE becomes real this year for CDMA mobile operators with 3G having a prominent role as the lingua franca for International roaming. The LTE band plans and commonality are being sorted out by the industry and regulators, but the exact solution is not yet clear to us.

3G (voice fall back) will continue to be prominent in thinking and must be supported. For CDMA operators who make a move to exclusively VoLTE, simple bulk switching of traffic from LTE to Wi-Fi is out, and will require VoLTE traffic to be left on LTE.

2014 is a tipping point for how mobile operators think and invest in Wi-Fi as an integrated, not standalone, part of the RAN ecosystem. In no small part, adding Wi-Fi to licensed spectrum small cells (3G/LTE) will be situational and shaped by the overall business strategy, and focus of each mobile operator. Indeed, a Mobile Enterprise must include Wi-Fi to create a best user experience where the 3G/4G Radio Access Network works with Wi-Fi, without user or IT intervention.

No matter what occurs, initiatives such as SpiderCloud’s EASY-30 that help mobile operators create or re-shape indoor coverage and capacity deployment processes will accelerate enterprise small cells to “escape velocity” in 2014. You can read here to learn more about EASY-30 and/or setup your appointment at Mobile World Congress 2014 to meet us in person. 

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

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

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