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Combining Wi-Fi and 3G, easing deployment with software smarts and a path to LTE were key deciding factors in Cisco's Ubiquisys buy

Cisco: Ubiquisys Smoothes the Small Cell Path

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
4/3/2013
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For Cisco Systems Inc., adding Ubiquisys to its roster of recently acquired wireless companies will help smooth the path of its planned small cell expansion. This will certainly help Cisco to move to 4G LTE small cells more quickly, Kelly Ahuja, SVP of the service provider mobility group of small cell deployments at Cisco tells Light Reading Mobile "It certainly accelerates our 4G plans," Ahuja says. There is, however, more to it, he insists. One key point is that Ubiquisys has the "RF expertise" to help Cisco combine Wi-Fi access and 3G small cells in one unit. "We think that its going to be 3G and Wi-Fi combined first," Ahuja says. This is because operators are already feeling the crunch in 3G deployments, while LTE networks are still relatively new and unloaded. For indoor small cells, which is where Cisco is mainly focused, the combo Wi-Fi and 3G coverage works for adding voice capacity while taking the strain on mobile video with Wi-Fi offload. "Most of the video usage, most of the heaviest usage is done indoors, not on the move," Ahuja argues. So a strong Wi-Fi connection is a good way to take some of the pressure off the 3G network. Easing the deployment of small cells, which basically have to be as easy and cheap to roll out as possible, was another tick in the pro column for Ubiquisys, according to Ahuja. The company had the "software intelligence that is needed to do the deployment of small cells much faster" with a cloud-based provisioning tool. All this made the Swindon, U.K.-based Ubiquisys a better choice for Cisco over other possible candidates. Ahuja is quick to note that Cisco still has a good working relationship with its original femtocell partner, ip.access. "They're a very good partner," he says. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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