December 11, 2014 — SpiderCloud Wireless ended the year with a bang, announcing that it has begun working with Verizon Wireless to supply scalable small cells for the in-building wireless needs of business customers.
“It is a sign that Verizon Wireless is getting behind small cells,” said Ronny Haraldsvik, SpiderCloud Wireless CMO. “This is another large operator that recognizes that the enterprise is a very important space.”
SpiderCloud Wireless’ small cell system has been in commercial use for three years by companies such as Vodafone UK and Vodafone Netherlands.
The E-RAN system can be installed in just days using an enterprise Ethernet local area network (LAN) as a managed service by a mobile operator’s network. The speed of deployment and lower cost of small cell systems is having an effect on DAS deployments, according to Haraldsvik.
“Anyone who can deploy Wi-Fi can implement our small cell system,” he said. “The uptake of small cells has forced DAS vendors to make deployment of their systems simpler and more affordable. There is a lot of room for DAS as they bring the price point down and make it easier to deploy.”
SpiderCloud has a portfolio of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Radio Nodes operating in 3G (single band), and software upgradeable, dual-band 3G+4G and 4G+4G small cells as part of the system.
“Verizon Wireless is the first carrier to use the SCRN-310 radio node in a 4G+4G configuration, and the radios are software upgradeable to provide carrier aggregation, which speaks to its commitment to the LTE rollout and increased capacity,” Haraldsvik said.
While the hype around small cells continues unabated, there is one knock on the new technology. Experts say there is no neutral-host solution, but Haraldsvik isn’t buying the common wisdom. Single-carrier small cell system deployments give the operator a competitive coverage advantage and a speed-to-market advantage.
“It is a silly assertion that small cells can’t be neutral host facilities,” he said. “The reason that small cells have taken so much interest from carriers is that they do not have to share infrastructure with other operators, which is what holds back a lot of DAS deployments.
“If a carrier needs capacity in a certain area, they can deploy the smalls in about a week, as opposed to waiting for all the operators to certify a solution,” he added.
Small Cells at Home in Enterprises
A majority of the 40,000 small cells promised by AT&T by 2015 are being deployed indoors in public venues and other enterprises. The reason? The need for backhaul and power, as well as interference concerns.
One example of the importance of backhaul is Crown Castle’s September purchase of 24/7 Mid-Atlantic Network, which owns 900 route miles of fiber in the Baltimore/Washington corridor. Crown had just won an RFP from Verizon Wireless to deploy a small cell network in that area.
Zayo Group raised $400 million in an initial public offering partially based on the promise of using its 81,000 route miles of dense metro and intercity fiber assets to provide backhaul for small cells.
J. Sharpe Smith is the editor of AGL Link and AGL Small Cell Link newsletters.