Light Reading
Airvana has developed a distributed LTE controller and radio node system for enterprises that takes on SpiderCloud and Ericsson's Radio Dot.

Airvana Is Back With a 'Cloud RAN' 4G Biz Cell

Dan Jones
6/10/2014
50%
50%

Airvana is back with a distributed small cell node system aimed at enterprises that require improved indoor LTE coverage in the workplace.

The company, best known thus far for its work on femtocells, is back with the OneCell system, which is intended as an alternative to distributed antenna systems for enterprises. The company says it will offer an LTE controller and radio nodes that can support multiple operators and cover a range of 50,000 to 1 million square feet, with the controller acting as the brain for the nodes and coordinating them to act as a single, large cell. (See C-RAN Blazes a Trail to True 4G.)

Airvana OneCell

Talking OneCell
Light Reading emailed back and forth last week with Airvana and CEO Richard Lowe to get the lowdown on OneCell. Here's Lowe's take on what the technology is and what it's for.

How would you define [OneCell]?
OneCell is a new category of small cell -- we call it a Cloud RAN small cell. It's based on cloud RAN concepts in that the baseband processing is pooled across all the Radio Points to form a single physical cell with many radios. This is in contrast to standalone or "classic" small cells in which each unit is its own full cell. This creation of a single physical cell is what eliminates inter-cell borders and their associated handovers and interference issues. But, even within the cloud RAN umbrella, many aspects of OneCell are unique and innovative, such as operation over standard Ethernet and increased capacity through Smart Reuse. So in the end, we get the performance benefits of a cloud RAN solution with the most attractive economics of any small cell system.

Do you see a growing market for units that improve LTE coverage indoors?
Absolutely! This is the whole basis for OneCell. It's a frequently cited figure that 80% of mobile usage is indoors, but the numbers we look at show only about 12% of operator budgets going to indoor coverage solutions (small cells and DAS). There are reasons for this, but in the long run the capacity investment needs to be aligned with where the users are. WiFi addresses the indoor need to some extent, but it isn't ideal for every situation. Mobile devices do not automatically connect to new WiFi networks, meaning that as users move around they must proactively log in to each new WiFi network. By contrast, LTE is part of the operator's network, so a user will automatically connect wherever they are. The purpose of OneCell is to make LTE delivery as simple and inexpensive as WiFi, so that users will have both wherever they are.

From a demand perspective we are seeing tremendous interest. OneCell is already in operator trials, and enterprise trials will start in Q3. A number of operators who collectively represent over a billion subscribers are talking to us about OneCell.

Whose responsibility is it to install these units? Carrier or end user?
Another unique characteristic of the OneCell architecture is that it supports a wide range of business models. End users could not only install the Radio Points and Ethernet infrastructure, but they could also purchase them just like some enterprises purchase DAS [distributed antenna] systems. This is because the Radio Points support all the major LTE frequencies and can be software-defined to support any frequency for any operator. Many enterprises are willing to fund these deployments, reducing the carrier's deployment expense to simply installing the Baseband Controller.

What has Airvana been up to recently? I haven't heard much from the company.
For our 3G business, we have been busy shipping 1.5M units, and several analysts have indicated we are the number one supplier worldwide for 3G small cells. We have also been in stealth mode working for the past three years on the OneCell architecture and innovations, and now that the product is in trials, have decided to announce it. You will be hearing a lot more from Airvana because this is just the beginning -- there is much more to come.

A historic note: Ericsson bought the CDMA EV-DO macrocell side of Airvana's business in 2013. Airvana has been focused on developing LTE small cells for several years. (See Ericsson Buys Airvana Biz, Kills Lawsuit and Airvana, Hitachi Demo LTE Femto.)

The rivals
Airvana is not the only company eyeing enterprise deployments as the best small cell opportunity at the moment. Airvana's distributed approach most closely resembles that of the startup SpiderCloud Wireless . That company has just started to ship its LTE enterprise small cell unit. (See SpiderCloud Shipping LTE Biz Small Cells .)

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and many others also want a piece of the enterprise small cell pie. The enterprise side has taken off faster than large-scale public access small cell deployments. (See NSN to Take Its Flexi Zone to Work, Ericsson Expects Smooth Sailing for Radio Dot , and Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/10/2014 | 7:20:50 PM
Inside
I can understand why operators don't focus on the indoor spaces, even though that's where we all use handsets most of the time. It has to be much harder to get infrastructure in place inside. These are areas that are private property and require a lot of planning to put gear in place.

It just doesn't seem worth it for operators to spend the time and money, I would think. 
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (6) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Hot Topics
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Salary Survey Report 2014
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Facebook: 30% of Users Are Mobile-Only
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/24/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed