Light Reading
LTE small cell is 'on horizon' but Wi-Fi remains the capacity champ as Cisco bigs up its small-cell portfolio

Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
3/5/2012
50%
50%

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) revealed that it will eventually round out its small-cell portfolio with the introduction of a Long Term Evolution (LTE)-capable base station in an interview with Light Reading Mobile at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.

But for now, the equipment vendor is more focused on a hybrid approach to small cells that will see mobile data capacity supplemented by carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks and indoor cellular coverage boosted by 3G femtocells. (See Cisco: We're Doing Small Cells Too.)

Critical to Cisco's small-cell strategy are the Hotspot 2.0 upgrades and the Small Cell Gateway that the vendor unveiled in Barcelona last week. The Gateway is based on the ASR5000 Series Mobile Multimedia Core Router and sits in the carrier network to manage connections over small-cell and Wi-Fi connections. (See Cisco Works With AT&T Et Al on First Small Cell.)

Light Reading Mobile sat down for lunch last week with Murali Nemani, senior director of mobility solutions with worldwide service provider marketing at Cisco, who explained that -- 4G or not -- there simply wouldn't be enough bandwidth available to support voice and high-speed data over a licensed spectrum cellular connection.

"We think it is more suitable and sustainable to have Wi-Fi address the capacity needs," said Nemani. "Even if you have all the spectrum available you wanted … It is just not sustainable on its own."

Massive Video Growth
There are a couple of statistics that underlie why Cisco is going for a hybrid approach with small cells. The company expects that by 2015, 70 percent of all mobile traffic will be video. Meanwhile, "80 percent of all access to Internet traffic is going to be indoors," said Nemani.

These metrics favor Wi-Fi offload for data and cellular small cells for voice in home, enterprise and public spaces, according to Cisco. Nemani gives the example of the offload work that his company did with Verizon Wireless at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this year as thousands of fans sent out photos and videos during the Super Bowl.

"It's not the download on smartphones in that situation, it's the upload," said Nemani. "What Verizon and Cisco did together there is basically integrated a carrier-grade Wi-Fi in the stadium."

3G/Wi-Fi Glue
Underpinning this hybrid approach is the Proxy Mobile IPv6 (PMIPv6) protocol used by Cisco across these systems. The protocol involves "carrying an IP address across networks," said Nemani. It allows the user to migrate between cellular and Wi-Fi connections while watching the same video but also maintain a connection while hoping between access points.

Portable Portfolio
Cisco's current small-cell portfolio includes a 3G residential femtocell. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has deployed so many of these devices, which it brands as a 3G MicroCell, that many believe that Cisco is now the biggest supplier of the indoor 3G base stations in the U.S. (See AT&T Claims to Be a Femtocell Big Spender.)

The femtocell will eventually be followed by an LTE small cell but Cisco is evidently not being rushed into delivering a 4G unit.

"Obviously, we're looking at demand," said Nemani. "It is on the horizon; it is something we’re evaluating with our customers."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:43 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


Cisco really didn't want to talk small cell competitors. "They validated our strategy," is all Murali Nemani would say about the Ericsson buy.


joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:42 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


Typically European operators often seem to get wider LTE channels to play with WHEN they get them but regulators hardly seem to be rushing to open up 4G spectrum on the continent.


 


A transatlantic perspective.

Moonbase
50%
50%
Moonbase,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:42 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


Seems to be a repeat of the strategy followed in the run up to the dotcom boom. Then it was an explosion in internet connections driving demand, now its people consuming video that will drive the demand. What Cisco fail to explain, is how, in these hard pressed economic times, people will pay for this mobile data, or why they would want to consume it in their home on a small screen smartphone? Surely it would be better on an a tablet, PC or television, and use the exisiting wifi enabled broadband connection (that they've had for the last 10 years)? Seems Murali also needs to be told that they break the RF spectrum into cells so they can reuse the spectrum again and again.


Putting all of the above together I'd suggest a number of the Cisco points are just marketing muddle to help them win the business, and why not? Until LTE takes off wifi is a cost effective alternative to 3G, but that doesn't mean its a long term solution: just a window that Cisco can exploit in the short term. I suspect Ericsson's buy is a defensive move to counter the immediate 3G data shortfall and operator asks.


A European perspective.


 


 


 


 


 

kaps
50%
50%
kaps,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:39 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


WiFi is more than just a 4G placeholder. It will be absolutely necessary especially in high density places like convention centers, hotels and especially stadiums. And yes, people will want to use mobile devices for video there. So you will need WiFi because there simply isn't enough cellular bandwidth to support 70,000 potential users.


Cisco already has a dedicated group working on stadiums and it's not a small business... thousands of stadiums worldwide, each with big demands. And pretty much greenfield since stadiums never really had good infrastructure. So there's one business to shoot for.

kaps
50%
50%
kaps,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:39 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


WiFi is more than just a 4G placeholder. It will be absolutely necessary especially in high density places like convention centers, hotels and especially stadiums. And yes, people will want to use mobile devices for video there. So you will need WiFi because there simply isn't enough cellular bandwidth to support 70,000 potential users.


Cisco already has a dedicated group working on stadiums and it's not a small business... thousands of stadiums worldwide, each with big demands. And pretty much greenfield since stadiums never really had good infrastructure. So there's one business to shoot for.

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:38 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


After spending the day at a convention with no Wi-Fi access, I totally agree.


 


ph

Michelle Donegan
50%
50%
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:36 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


As Ericsson moves in on Cisco's Wi-Fi turf with the BelAir acquisition, it's worth pondering how far Cisco will go into Ericsson's 3GPP territory.


Cisco's talking about plans for LTE small cells now, but where will it get the cellular know-how?

joset01
50%
50%
joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:40:34 PM
re: Cisco’s Big Small-Cell Ambitions


Well they already are a major supplier of 3G basestations thanks to the Microcell. Said they had no interest in becoming a macro RAN player.

Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
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   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
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
Hot Topics
Comcast Streams Back to School
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/21/2014
Level 3 Does Big Data Differently
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/21/2014
T-Mobile: Small Cells? We're Dense Already
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/22/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed