Small cells

Ericsson Expects Smooth Sailing for Radio Dot

Ericsson is currently working to meet operator demand for Radio Dot in order to begin trials in the second quarter, but -- once they start -- it's expecting an easy ride on the certification process for its new enterprise small cells.

Where Radio Dot won't get an easy ride is when it crops up in competitive conversations, as the specialist enterprise small cell vendors are less than complementary about Ericsson's approach to the market.

In an interview after the Swedish giant's fourth-quarter earnings, Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Network business, told Light Reading that the Radio Dot system is on track for trials toward the end of the second quarter. All of the infrastructure vendor's operator customers want to do trials, he claims, it's just a matter of meeting demand rather than choosing one or two. (See Ericsson Flatlines in 2013, Trails Huawei, Ericsson Boasts Small Cell Breakthrough, and Top 6 Small Cells Movers & Shakers.)

Trials in North America will be among the first, Wibergh adds. Both AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless have expressed interest in the small cell system, which supports LTE and connects through a building's local area network cables to a radio unit connected to a macro base station. (See Verizon Welcomes Ericsson's Radio Dot.)

Besides the general support, what gives Wibergh the confidence that getting certified with the carriers will be a breeze is that Radio Dot runs on the same architecture as its macro radio access network (RAN) products. He says that one of the biggest components of the process is certifying the software running in the base station.

"From a network management viewpoint, the Radio Dot works just like any base station when it comes to managing and provisioning the network," he says. "It will be a smooth ride on those aspects. Overall, I believe the certification will be easier for us than usual."

That's also why he expects Radio Dot to work smoothly in actual deployments. Unlike other solutions that are based on new software stacks, new hardware, or new ways of connecting, Ericsson isn't reinventing the wheel -- which, of course, is also a criticism of its new small cell system, which some have called a repackaging of its DAS (distributed antenna systems) radio head. (See Ericsson's Radio Dot Receives Mixed Reception.)

"We do expect to see quite rapid development," Wibergh says. "Attention is really high."

Attention is high not just amongst the operators, but also Ericsson's competitors. SpiderCloud Wireless , for one, doubts just how breezy the certification process will be for the big vendor. And, CMO Ronny Haraldsvik criticizes it for -- as he puts it -- slowing down the market for enterprise small cells.

"Inevitably there will be large companies coming in and promising to have something similar and slow down the market in order to catch up," Haraldsvik says, citing Radio Dot as one such example. "It's a classic strategy that sometimes works, sometimes backfires.

It'll be a while before the industry can tell whether the strategy has backfired or not since Ericsson isn't planning commercial deployments until the end of the year. SpiderCloud, meanwhile, has promised LTE/3G small cells in the second or third quarter. Haraldsvik also hinted that multimode 3G/4G/WiFi small cells are forthcoming. Both companies will be showing off their wares at next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (See SpiderCloud Eyes LTE Enterprise Small Cells in 2014.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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ip.access 2/7/2014 | 12:37:13 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 I'm afraid that it's a 2G deployment, that said we do have 3G deployments with DAS integration but such deployments are not public.
Sarah Thomas 2/7/2014 | 12:28:15 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 Is the deployment 3G + WiFi?
ip.access 2/7/2014 | 12:10:01 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 ip.access have small cell deployments which integrate into a DAS - below is an extract from a case study we have with T-Mobile NL available for download from our website.

When Bijenkorf Shopping Centre needed to improve coverage and capacity for its customers within the mall, T-Mobile looked to ip.access to deliver a cost-effective, easy-to-implement in-building solution. The shopping centre, based in Amstelveen in North Holland, required a robust coverage solution to serve its 4000m² surface area and help create a satisfying customer experience in the competitive retailing marketplace. Key to the project and fulfilling the business case was the ability to integrate seamlessly with the existing DAS system – a conventional small cell BTS (Base Transceiver Station) solution, with two omni indoor antennas covering each of the centre's three floors.

T-Mobile has estimated the savings generated by the nanoBTS solution to be over 16K Euros, providing the mobile network operator with a highly efficient way of boosting indoor coverage in similar environments.


DanJones 1/31/2014 | 4:45:59 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 Keith Day is now head of Small Cell marketing at Cisco now:


I'm hoping to get a small cell and carrier WiFi update soon.
McCray 1/31/2014 | 4:44:00 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 Sarah,


Ronny would definitely have the best insight. Without knowing the unpublished details today's Vodaphone announcement still points to combined 3G, 4G, and WiFi happening later in 2014 for these 3,200 square meter business venues.

I think the speed to deployment is definitely attractive. I would also like SpiderCloud's E-RAN implementation I find attracitve upon my initial analysis; I'm still analyzing ha ha.

It appears to offer seamless mobility, offer minimal voice/data drop calls, provide inteference management, provide SON, and offer a single management source to operators; all of which appear to be attractive.

Once more successful deployments occur at venues of the size (3,200+ square meters) noted in today's announcement; operators will begin warming up to this type of enterprise small cell application as a means to capture revenue and provide an improved user experience. 

I'm eager to see how an integrated solution supporting 3G, 4G, and WiFi can support as WiFi is unlicensed frequency while 3G and 4G are licensed and they don't map 1 to 1 from a planning prospective. I think this is where innovative active antenna techniques will assist which factor in innovative antenna designers such as Ethertronics Inc., Galtronics, as well as others

Sarah Thomas 1/31/2014 | 3:59:09 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 Me too, and SpiderCloud has room to talk -- see another announcement with it and Vodafone from today: http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/small-cells/vodafone-launches-small-cell-service-in-uk/d/d-id/707515?

Maybe Ronny can weigh in on your question, but I know today's announcement was geared toward larger enterprises. 
McCray 1/30/2014 | 6:08:45 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 I absolutely love this competitive spirit especially by SpiderCloud. I would love to hear from Cisco (former Ubiquisys) and ip.access on this matter.

What I'm wondering is have either Ericsson or Spidercloud conducted any trials in which either solution is feeding or integrated with a conventional passive or better yet active DAS platform to address large capacity venues. I don't believe stand-alone either can as Sarah pointed out; address a nuetral host requirement where multiple operators, technologies, and frequency bands are required.

This precisely why DAS is still prevelant in large capacity venues at least for now and probably the next few years. DAS is also becoming more cost competitive with the models being developed.


Anthony McCray

Ethertronics Inc.

Sarah Thomas 1/30/2014 | 4:38:52 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 is SpiderCloud's SCRN-310 commercially available, or just in trials now?

Re WiFi in Radio Dot...that's in release 2, but who knows when that'll come out...
Haraldsvik 1/30/2014 | 4:34:16 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 Yes, multi-mode is more than 1 band/technology. We already have our 300 (3G/Wi-Fi) and our new Dual-Band SCRN-310 (3G/4G or 2 bands LTE) can be dropped into an existing LAN/VLAN without a forklift (no new SCSN needed)

..unlike Ericsson's additional wiring/equipment). Each Radio dot supports one band class only. Two dots required to support 3G and LTE. Each Dot needs a separate Ethernet cable

* Dedicated and new cabling essential (CIPRI...no VLAN) >> Optical from DU to IRU, Cat5/6 from IRU to Dot.

* Dedicated synchronous backhaul essential >> cannot use low-cost backhaul or share enterprise backhaul.

* Does not reduce load on RNC; additional RNC capacity required.  Capacity is limited to 12 sectors – not enough for 3,000 to 5,000 subscribers in a building. If used as 3G + LTE, then 6 sectors per DU.

Touch the building risers or roof/outside... and you are in the penalty box. 
...about Multi-mode... is Wi-Fi at all possible for a Dot system (a good question to ask).
PPT never won any battle of credibility vs field KPI with a customer
:-) RH

Sarah Thomas 1/30/2014 | 4:09:39 PM
Re: Ericsson v. SpiderCloud, round 3 To be fair though, SpiderCloud doesn't yet have 3G/4G/WiFi small cells either or even LTE + 3G, so -- while you're headstart in the enterprise is clear, it's still a race to multimode!
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