Light Reading

Indoor Market Driving LTE Small Cell Push

Sarah Thomas
6/26/2014
50%
50%

While the public access small cell market is slowing getting off the ground, indoors -- both residential and enterprise -- remains fertile ground for small cells to fix voice and coverage issues, respectively. (See Lessons From Your Friendly Neighborhood Small Cells.)

It's not something you'll hear much about, but millions of residential femtocells are being automated worldwide as carriers lean on it for an indoor voice solution, Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown said while moderating a panel of small cell heavyweights at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) last week in Chicago. The numbers aren't nearly as high as they are for WiFi -- most every home with broadband now has WiFi -- but residential femtocells have seen steady, significant growth over the past few years. (See How Heavy Reading Called Small Cells Right and Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

At the same time, the enterprise small cell market is taking off, but more so as a fix for poor indoor coverage. Ronny Haraldsvik, senior vice president and CMO of SpiderCloud Wireless , said that, after a slow start, the company has seen a "tremendous amount of demand" in the past 12-18 months. This has been helped by the entrance of big players like Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) in the market. (See SpiderCloud Shipping LTE Biz Small Cells and Ericsson Boasts Small Cell Breakthrough.)

The vendors are finally starting to overcome operator hesitancy around protecting the macro network. ("Don't [expletive] with the macro network" was SpiderCloud's founding philosophy, after all.) They are also becoming convinced of the business case for it -- not just in keeping enterprise customers happy, but also in treating small cells as a facilitation point for enterprise services, Haraldsvik said.

"Our biggest hurdle is convincing RF engineers that the system works," he said. "It doesn't matter if anyone has done it. They have to be convinced it doesn't interfere with the macro."

Arun Bhamidimarri, business owner for small cells and WiFi solutions for Ericsson North America, agreed that the indoor environment is the primary driver for small cells, and that the market is moving in that direction. The vendor plans to start testing its Radio Dot indoor system at the end of the second quarter. (See Ericsson Expects Smooth Sailing for Radio Dot .)

The consensus among the panelists, which included Taqua LLC CTO John Hoadley and Boingo Wireless Inc. CTO Derek Peterson, was that WiFi is ubiquitous and often the first place operators look to solve indoor challenges, but fixing poor voice coverage and quality still necessitates small cells indoors. Even as voice over WiFi, which Taqua powers for Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and others, takes off, there is an acute need to fix the cellular voice and indoor coverage issues. (See Taqua Lets Mobile Users Talk Over WiFi and Taqua Extends VoWiFi to UMTS.)

At the same time, the need is shifting from 3G to 4G LTE -- a trend reflected in recent vendor announcements. Though 3G fallback will be around for quite some time, the demand is now for LTE small cells. (See Airvana Is Back With a 'Cloud RAN' 4G Biz Cell, NSN to Take Its Flexi Zone to Work, Vodafone Launches Small Cell Service in UK, Samsung Snags Verizon 4G Small Cell Indoor Deal, and Verizon Deploys AlcaLu's LTE Small Cells .)

"Quite a few vendors pushing on indoor LTE small cells because so many carriers want an LTE-only solution in the next few years," Brown said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
joes8888
50%
50%
joes8888,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/2/2014 | 8:10:30 PM
Re: Advantage
The networks need to be abstracted one layer: ie SON. Shouldn't matter what the RAN technology is. The move to all-IP systems will support the next 20 years of of iteration.

Subject-matter experts who are tasked to build networks see the various technologies as tools in the toolbox. Different tools needed for different situations. Sometimes it's coverage, sometimes, it's capacity, sometimes it's both. And of course many other metrics, like power, cost, space, etc.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2014 | 5:21:31 AM
RE: The growth of Small cell market
I also agree to the fact that the indoor environment is the primary driver for small cells. As a result, the market is being driven towards that direction. The truth is that WiFi is found almost at every corner of the globe. Almost every home and office today uses WiFi applications. However, there are challenges such as poor voice coverage that requires a little contribution from the small cell indoors. Most vendors today treat small cells as facilitation point for enterprise services and this is great news.
gregwhelan
50%
50%
gregwhelan,
User Rank: Lightning
6/27/2014 | 8:43:30 AM
Re: Advantage
The ideal end game is to integrate indoor small cells with Wi-Fi....  

1. Single MNO branded customer experience,

2. Enhanced traffic management, intelligent off-loading....

3. Default off-load to Wi-Fi is not always the best option.

4. MNOs need to fill their LTE network first, then worry about off loading... LTE traffic keeps the "meter" running.  

5.  The MNO's marketing depart can offer enhanced data plans that include wi-fi and add wi-fi only device (e.g., tablets, laptops) to their "family plans".

6. Eliminates the indoor trade off of "good data" or "good voice"

Thoughts?
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/26/2014 | 6:34:26 PM
Re: Advantage
WiFi calling has been around for several years, but has it really caught on ?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/26/2014 | 4:55:25 PM
Re: Advantage
wanlord - Good point about handoffs. Having traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to San Diego via DFW, I am keenly aware of the inconvenience of reconnecting to multiple WiFi hotspots in succession. 

Wouldn't HotSpot 2.0 fix those problems?
wanlord
50%
50%
wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/26/2014 | 3:23:29 PM
Re: Advantage
@Sara - I tend to agree to a point but you are right, if service sucks on WiFi like everyone has experienced in busy hotels like in Chicago where they still charge you, and you are forced to use cellular and then you start getting those friendly text reminders that you have reached 75% of your bandwidth caps watching Netflix :-)
wanlord
50%
50%
wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/26/2014 | 2:31:34 PM
Re: Advantage
Sure, if you are on cellular, you are likely going to have a seemless handoff from tower to small cell or any combination, no manually re-connecting to a new hotspot SSID, etc. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/26/2014 | 2:20:30 PM
Advantage
Do small cells provide advantages over WiFi to the consumer, business customer, or carrier?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (4) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Distract-a-Cat Click Here
The vibrate function makes for a useful cat distraction.