Light Reading
Ruckus Wireless CEO says equipping cities with WiFi is one of the quickest ways to get rights to deploy small cells on their infrastructure.

WiFi: Small Cells' Trojan Horse?

Sarah Thomas
2/25/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Obtaining the rights for public-access small cells is one of the biggest impediments to deployments, but Ruckus Wireless CEO Selina Lo has a plan: let WiFi be small cells' Trojan horse.

Her theory is that if a network operator starts with WiFi in a city, they'll have a much better shot of deploying a small cell in the same spot at a later date. The rights process is much easier with WiFi, but it's a significant challenge to small cells.

In fact, according to 23% of the Light Reading community, obtaining rights from the city to install small cells is the single biggest challenge in public access deployments. It was voted second only to deploying new backhaul, which 35% of the community chose. (See Small Cells in the City .)

So, here's where the Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) chief's plan comes into play. Operators don't have the time or resources to spend negotiating with local governments for rights to their "city furniture," typically lampposts or traffic lights on which they can attach their small cells. But, there has been a resurgence in municipal WiFi of late. Lo said that cities recognize connectivity as a need, and it's a need they want to fulfill, preferably with partners.

"For a lot of service providers, this is another means to acquire sites, using WiFi as a Trojan horse," Lo told Light Reading in Barcelona. "WiFi is well understood; cities understand it, but a city could not implement small cells. By giving the city WiFi, they may let them attach small cells on the same post."

Ruckus is already working with the likes of San Francisco and San Jose, where it is creating its own goodwill by donating thousands of WiFi access points to provide connectivity in busy outdoor areas. These deployments didn't actually start with a network operator -- the cities decided not to wait but are open to leasing their networks to operators after the fact. But they are also just the start of what could be the resurgence in muni-WiFi. (See San Fran Taps Ruckus to Unwire its Outdoors, O2 Brings a Wi-Fi Ruckus to the Wharf, and Ruckus Eyes Carrier Deals After $126M IPO.)

"Now that the city has recognized [connectivity] as a need, it will be good for operators," Lo said. "They can really negotiate. The city has the need. If they can give them terms that are acceptable, it's a win-win."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
danny_be
50%
50%
danny_be,
User Rank: Lightning
3/3/2014 | 9:31:31 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
There is no dought that small cells are essential for enhancing capacity. To ilustrate that, look at this chart thaken from NGMN and Small Cell Forum releases:

mhhf1ve
100%
0%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 7:07:20 PM
What's the business model for municipal WiFi?
There have been several proposed WiFi project for cities over the years, and I'm not sure any of them had a really good business model. Giving away free internet access, and then inserting ads or hoping that foot traffic to businesses would increase municipla revenues is a pretty big stretch.

The limited coverage of WiFi also makes it a bit difficult to see a profit model -- because a city needs to deploy access points every few hundred yards to get decent reliability of service. 

Am I missing something? What's really changed in the WiFi landscape? The demand for broadband connectivity has always existed, but is it really that much higher now? And if it is, isn't it being supplied by wireless telcos?
chuckj
50%
50%
chuckj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 1:52:58 PM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Telco's are blocking small cell deploymnets because their business model is based on over subscription and they only consider small cells for coverage in extreme cases.  There is no business case for any hardware maker to make small cells for Telco, but with dedicated spectrum small cells for Enterprise is a huge market.
SarahReedy
100%
0%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 8:43:32 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
I think the difference between current muni-WiFi and failures of the past is, for one thing, the appetite for WiFi is much stronger now. People think it's their right to be connected. Also, companies like Ruckus are donating all the APs, so the upfront investment is minimal for the city. They just have to allow it on their furniture. Monetization comes after from services, ads, premium service, etc.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 8:42:02 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Telcos are anxious to count both as customers. How do you think they're preventing it? Pricing?
gk998
50%
50%
gk998,
User Rank: Lightning
2/25/2014 | 8:15:28 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Not sure I see any business case for any Municipal/Local Authority (MLA) to bear the cost of a standalone WiFi deployment (there have been several cases where public cash has been spent but the deployment has been woeful or failed entirely).
I do see a case where an Operator can entice the MLA to be a proactive facilitator WRT the deployment, this is done by deploying Small Cells with integral Wifi capability.  the trade off is that the Operator provides the WiFi aspects FoC (i.e. HW & Integration services) and the MLA grants the rights to the sites (including power and assistance with the initial backhaul section).  OK so not all the locations desired by each party will match up but there should be sufficient to cover the interest of both parties.
chuckj
50%
50%
chuckj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 6:58:37 AM
Re: Missed opportunity?
Small cells have to have a defined spectrum like wifi. The problem is not the politician, the problem is the Telco monopoly on the spectrum. The businesses are hungry for having an open channel for localized ads to the customers smart phone, and the customers are hungry for free voice and data wherever possible, it is the Telco that is preventing that.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 5:35:53 AM
Missed opportunity?
I wonder how many more cities will follow the trend of deploying WiFi without an operator partner. They may want to get on work on getting in with the cities beforhand rather than after. Seems like they might have more wiggle room that way.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Graham Finnie from Heavy Reading about some of the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control.
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cuomo Unveils Broadband Aid Program
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/19/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive