Fall June 2013 Small Cells Inside the Enterprise - The Who, What & Where Caroline Gabriel Research Director

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1 June 2013 Small Cells Inside the Enterprise - The Who, What & Where BY: Caroline Gabriel Research Director Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved

2 Objective: The demands on wireless and mobile systems within buildings are immense and growing. In enterprises, rising use of mobile products as the primary devices rather than desk PCs and phones - requires high levels of network reliability, security, quality of service and coverage. In public spaces, use of mobile devices puts massive demands on capacity within stadiums, conference centers and malls. Traditional wireless offerings were not designed for these demands and so there has been rapid evolution in the systems available, resulting in several main in-building alternatives. It is unlikely that any will be a perfect match in every scenario, with each platform having different advantages and sweet spots. This white paper seeks to identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of small cells inside the enterprise, in small to large enterprise scenarios.. It also analyzes the development of stand-alone vs small cell systems, which look to integrate different technologies and combine the benefits of several proven solutions in a unified system. Table of Contents: Executive summary 3 Introduction 4 1. Key challenges for enterprise wireless & indoor mobility 5 2. Key solutions for enterprise wireless & indoor mobility 8 a. Wi-Fi 8 b. DAS 10 c. Small cells and systems 13 d. Other solutions The next wave of enterprise wireless/mobility platforms The enterprise wireless matrix 20 List of Figures: Key changes in requirements for enterprise wireless/mobile networks 6 The varying balance of requirements for different enterprises 7 How far Wi-Fi addresses key enterprise requirements 9 How far DAS addresses key enterprise requirements 12 Shipments of enterprise and indoor small cells to How far small cells address key enterprise requirements 15 The emergence of scalable small cell systems 19 Matrix of best placed technologies for various enterprises 21 Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 2

3 Executive summary: With about three-quarters of mobile voice and data sessions originating indoors, wireless coverage and capacity are becoming critical issues for enterprises, whether supporting employees in the workplace, customers in offices and stores, or visitors to venues such as sports stadiums. The need to provide high speed data, seamless mobility and strong quality of service are making many organizations existing systems creak at the seams. Many are weighing up their future options which combination of wireless and mobile access technologies will deliver the best balance of cost effectiveness, capacity, coverage and mobility to enable business objectives; and whether to manage that internally or outsource it to an operator. The good news is that there is a wave of innovation in the various indoor enterprise wireless solutions, aimed at addressing the rapidly changing requirements of companies. Important ones include the emergence of enterprise small cells that incorporate 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi; enhancements to corporate Wi-Fi performance and integration (data offload); more flexible options for DAS (Distributed Antenna System). However, studies of enterprises and their operator partners show clearly that one solution increasingly does not meet all requirements. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Wi-Fi is strong for capacity, cost effectiveness and innovation cycles, but is still limited for companies requiring full coverage, mobility, and native 3G services. DAS has many strengths, when used for very large deployments and for coverage, but is expensive and complex to deploy. Small cells hold great promise for boosting capacity and supporting new applications, but have been, historically, challenged when it comes to scalability. Therefore, an important trend will be to integrate multiple wireless and mobile access approaches within a single planning and management platform, and companies are increasingly looking for such solutions. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 3

4 Introduction: Poor mobile coverage and capacity indoors is rapidly becoming more than just an irritation for enterprises it is starting to limit productivity and block important new services and working methods. With about three-quarters of mobile voice and data sessions originating indoors, this is becoming a critical issue for users and operators. The new urgency with which enterprises regard mobile coverage and capacity is driven both by end users and business requirements: Employees increasingly carry out most of their calls and even many of their data functions on their smartphones, and that has been intensified by the rise of both COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) and BYOD (bring your own device) policies It is of rising importance to provide a good mobile experience for visitors to the enterprise buildings, especially if these are consumer-facing (eg stores) Companies are adopting mobile enterprise applications which encourage flexible processes and productive working, but only if the users can obtain strong mobile quality of service at all times With these pressures in mind, it is no surprise that half of companies, according to a recent study by YouGov, would churn to a new operator if it promised better indoor coverage. In the US, for instance, over 60% of businesses surveyed said they had problems with mobile capacity and coverage. This is putting strong pressure on operators to adopt solutions which will address the problems all major cellcos are keen to offset the fall in consumer ARPUs by increasing their strategic value to higher-revenue enterprise customers. The first wave of enterprise wireless was heavily focused on Wi-Fi, with a limited role for the operator, which was often confined simply to providing minutes and megabytes at a good price, without any strategic impact on the customer s business or cost base. Now the rising use of smartphones, and the need for seamless mobility and voice coverage indoors, are making cellular technologies as important as Wi-Fi for corporate wireless strategies. That, in turn, gives the operator a new chance to play a high value role by offering the right platform. There are several broad approaches to enterprise wireless, each with its own strengths, weaknesses and sweet spots, depending on the size and nature of the deployment. It is increasingly apparent that one technology will not fit all needs in this complex environment, and organizations will often need to mix and match or find an operator to do that for them, as a managed service. In either case, there will be rising interest in multi-access small cell systems that can scale and that integrate the benefits of different approaches in a single platform. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 4

5 1. Key challenges for indoor enterprise wireless & mobility Many challenges remain in supporting rising data volumes, as well as a strong user experience and added value services, on indoor networks. The requirements of an indoor cellular and wireless network, whether private or public, are changing rapidly and many of the solutions which powered the first generation of enterprise wireless have significant shortcomings with regards to key new demands. This relates to several important shifts in the market: Sheer volumes of data will explode beyond the capability of some first generation systems, and will need to be optimized and prioritized using new network intelligence. The smartphone has become the preferred connection for most types of connection, including those which are most demanding on coverage and QoS when indoors voice and real time video, the latter the fastest growing type of mobile traffic, and increasingly used for corporate apps like conferencing. Users have rising expectations of the quality of service and overall experience they receive. This has almost matched pricing as the number one reason to switch mobile carrier, especially in enterprises where quality may be business critical. Users, now more than ever, expect their devices to work anywhere, whether inside or outside. In-building mobile solutions must be able to deliver the same seamless mobility as the outdoor macro cellular network, with soft handoff and low-low call drop rates. Carriers want a more strategic position in enterprises and venues, where ARPU can be twice that of the consumer space, and where churn is far lower. They need to offer more than just minutes and bytes, and become strategic partners by supporting a customer s business objectives and offering added value services. The systems they provide need to be equipped for this. With mobile devices being used for the whole range of enterprise functions, not just voice and messaging, they need to integrate seamlessly with existing corporate networks (PBX, wireline, Wi-Fi) to a greater extent than before. Enterprise budget constraints are limiting their ability to keep up with the demands of their users. The rise of COPE and BYOD in many corporations has led to fears that IT departments will lose control of mobile users and applications, so support for centralized security and control has become vital. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 5

6 In other words, the requirements of enterprise and venue indoor networking have changed significantly in just a few years. The traditional solutions will struggle to keep up, and nearly all sites will find that they require a combination of different technologies to meet all their needs. These new trends mean that any indoor wireless solution is more critical than before, and needs to tick far more boxes. The key challenges for any solution are: Time to deploy and ease of installation Cost to deploy and TCO - the upfront costs of indoor wireless systems have fallen sharply over the past five years, but organizations remain highly concerned about the total cost of ownership Security Capacity and coverage on a new scale Improved QoS including seamless mobility for voice and video Ease of management with one-point control of the increasingly complex network Integration between indoor wireless systems, with the macro network, and with other corporate systems such as PBX, wireline networks, intranet Scalability as organizations look to deploy a single converged architecture across large locations and to support rising levels of capacity together with many new services. Yesterday Requirements: Moderate capacity PC-oriented Hotspot coverage Low user density Data-driven, voice network separate and non-critical Critical capabilities: Standalone data network Hotspot pattern Voice PBX + macro cellular network Today Requirements: Very high capacity Smartphone-oriented Ubiquitous coverage High or unpredictable user density Voice integrated and critical Enhanced user experience Support new services Critical capabilities: Integrated voice and data Converged cellular and Wi-Fi High scalability Centralized management Seamless mobility Self-organization Fig 1. Key changes in the requirements of an enterprise indoor wireless network, as we transition to a fully mobile enterprise: Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 6

7 Given all these new demands, there will be no silver bullet addressing every requirement, but integration of different technologies will be required to deliver a smooth user experience. Integrating and managing multiple wireless platforms can be complex and often falls outside the experience of enterprise IT departments, plus platforms serving licensed spectrum must be delivered by the mobile operator. These factors will drive interest in next-generation platforms which can manage multiple access networks, and in outsourcing those functions to the carrier. And of course, not every enterprise has the same requirements. Levels of mobility and capacity required will vary according to the company s activities and policies, and there will be different approaches to trends like COPE/BYOD, which will impact on the network needed. In general though, there are three major use cases, which will involve specific requirements in addition to the universal ones outlined above. There will be further variations based on the size of the enterprise or venue. All Private enterprise network Public/private access enterprise network small Public/private access enterprise network large Venue network eg stadium High capacity xx xx xxx xxx New devices and BYOD xxx xx xx xx 100% coverage xx xx xxx xxx High user density x x xx xxx Integrated voice/data Seamless mobility/qos Support new services xxx xxx xxx x xxx xxx xxx x xx xx xx x Security xxx xxx xxx x Quick to deploy xx xx xxx xxx Flexible layout and capacity Integration with corporate networks xx xx xxx xx xxx xxx xxx TCO xx xx xxx xx Figure 2. Varying balance of requirements for an indoor wireless/mobile network, depending on type of enterprise (x=moderately important, xx=very important, xxx=critical) Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 7

8 2. The key indoor solutions: It is clear that the indoor wireless solution will require a complex mix of capabilities, and it is likely that no single technology will meet all these needs. In this section we outline the main approaches, together with their pros and cons, and new innovations. a) Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi has been the chief platform for wireless data inside enterprises for the past few years and continues to grow. It has many attractions, including a broad ecosystem and mature standards, both driving cost advantages. It will remain an important element of private and public access indoors, and Gartner predicts CAGR of over 18% a year in the enterprise Wi-Fi equipment market, to reach $7.9bn in The huge industry effort behind its standards ensures a constant stream of upgrades and innovations, including the latest gigabit Wi-Fi standard, ac, which is starting to appear in enterprise access points and carrier Wi-Fi gear. However, the traditional enterprise WLAN has limitations when it comes to the new demands for ubiquitous, fully mobile usage. With notable exceptions, the majority of enterprise WLANs were deployed as primarily stationary, data-driven systems which were standalone, rather than integrated with cellular, and often did not cover the entire building. But the rising use of voice and video applications, with their demanding QoS requirements, mean that many WLANs are falling short in terms of RF coverage, support for fully mobile users, and integration with the enterprise PBX and with cellular systems. Wi-Fi has other disadvantages, some of which can be offset if it is integrated with cellular technologies, rather than retained as a standalone system. The primary ones relate to: The uncertainties of unlicensed spectrum, especially in public access networks where congestion and interference can be unpredictable It is less well suited to ubiquitous coverage, especially for voice and video streaming, than cellular systems, which have stronger QoS and run in lower frequencies, for greater coverage Weak integration with cellular. There have been advances in this area, with a rise in multimode devices. The next stage is to enable seamless data handover between Wi-Fi and 3G/4G, and manage both networks from a common core. These advances deliver their full benefits only when under the Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 8

9 control of the mobile carrier however, making a standalone Wi-Fi platform less attractive Key requirement How far addressed by Wi- Fi Comments High capacity xxx Many networks congested if poorly planned in unlicensed spectrum New devices and BYOD xx Growing number of devices support Wi-Fi, BYOD devices outside firewall in most enterprises Ubiquitous coverage x Still mainly hotspot based High user density xx Depends on congestion planning Integrated voice/data x VoWi-Fi solutions assume enterprise IT assumes the mobile operator s support burden (Voice over Wi-Fi does not address mobility) Strong user experience/qos x Variable depending on congestion, Security xxx Many advances in Wi-Fi security Quick to deploy xxx Yes, in basic layout Flexible layout and capacity Centralized management xx xx Requires large number of cells Good integration with wired systems, not with cellular Cost xx Strong ecosystem with economies of scale Seamless mobility x Mobility remains limited on WLANs Figure 3. How far Wi-Fi addresses key requirements for indoor enterprise wireless Innovations in enterprise Wi-Fi: The technology is evolving all the time, and some recent or imminent updates are particularly relevant to the enterprise experience: Upgrades to ac, which supports peak speeds of over a gigabit and newly efficient levels of capacity, will further improve Wi-Fi s ability to support heavy duty data, though they will do little for its range or mobility ac support will be particularly important in public venues as users start to adopt devices, especially notebooks, incorporating the new standard. Most Wi-Fi systems have not supported centralized management and visibility, at least once the deployment started to spread to remote locations such as branch offices or stores. This is being addressed by cloud-based controllers or managed Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 9

10 services (hence Cisco s acquisition of Meraki). However, these still treat the WLAN as a standalone network rather than integrating with the cellular systems. Wi-Fi controllers from vendors like Xirrus and Aruba have increasingly high levels of intelligence, for analyzing data packets and prioritizing them, and for ensuring security. Some are starting to become more mobile aware also. Integration of Wi-Fi and cellular is coming closer at a standards level, in terms of the end user experience, though not necessarily common management. Most important is the HotSpot 2.0 specification, and its Passpoint certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance, which allows for seamless hand-off and common SIM-based authentication. This brings Wi-Fi roaming and offload within the control of the mobile operator. Key strengths: Affordable capacity Relatively plentiful spectrum Competitive ecosystem Well understood technology with high innovation effort Scores highly for ease of installation and management Good integration with wireline IP systems Strong potential for integrated cellular/wi-fi systems Key weaknesses: Lacks support for mobility and seamless hand-off, increasingly serious as video becomes important to business users and voice still very important Creating a dense mesh capable of pseudo-mobility raises cost and interference issues These are more serious the larger the building or venue Optimal for hotspot approach not full coverage Requires dedicated IT resources and budgets Summary: Good capacity, strong ecosystem and attractive cost base for deployments of all sizes, but issues remain with full mobility and coverage. Some enterprises may look to keep WLANs and mobile networks separate, but optimal benefits come from combining the two, boosting mobile capacity and Wi-Fi coverage. Enterprises of all sizes will benefit from a unified platform for Wi-Fi and cellular. This will be important in venues for different reasons, to balance traffic between the two networks and improve QoS. b) DAS (Distributed Antenna System) DAS (Distributed Antenna System) is the incumbent technology for mobile coverage in large enterprises and venues. It is usually installed by the operator and has therefore given carriers a valuable inroad into these large premises, but there has Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 10

11 been limited integration with Wi-Fi or other networks, and limited opportunity to use DAS as a platform for added value services to the enterprise. However, there are many advances in DAS which continue to give it a role in indoor (and outdoor) deployments, especially in the technology s US stronghold. For instance, AT&T recently said it would include 1,000 DAS systems in its massive new Project VIP, which also includes about 40,000 small cells and 10,000 macrocells, plus carrier Wi-Fi. DAS is great for enterprises if cellcos pays for the system. If the burden is carried by the enterprise, resources, budgets and access to qualified personnel are big challenges. DAS creates zones of coverage using antennas connected to a base station hotel or hub by fiber or copper. Radio signals to and from the base station are sent through a system of multiple antennas, either passive (where RF signals are combined using passive components such as filters, splitters and couplers), or active (where signals are converted and distributed over fiber). There are also hybrid solutions, where active units are distributed in a building, each one feeding a small passive antenna network. Active DAS has been gaining ground against passive technology because it promises greater flexibility, scalability and integration with small cells along with key DAS benefits like backhaul efficiency. Many feel DAS remains in pole position in large buildings and venues because of its proven ability to scale to very large deployments, especially in sites where it is an incumbent. These are particularly common in the US, which, along with certain Asian economies, has adopted DAS on a far wider scale than in other regions. Small cells may initially penetrate these locations as feeders to DAS systems, or to fill in where DAS is cost-prohibitive in small to large enterprises. However, to be deployed on this scale they will need strong and scalable management to match the relatively simple management of DAS. DAS involves controlling a small number of base stations, while metrocell approaches will need systems that support a clustered approach as well as significant self-organization, to ensure that management complexities do not outweigh capacity and coverage gains. However, there are downsides to DAS, notably the cost of capacity compared to metrocells or Wi-Fi. Although the cost of installing DAS varies significantly according to the size and nature of the building or venue, surveys of service providers and venue owners show that, for comparable capacity and coverage, DAS will, on average, cost 10 times more than small cells, a figure that is likely to grow since the downward cost curve for metrocells will be sharper than for the more mature technology. Logically, venues where DAS is already in place may look to upgrade to LTE using the technology, since expensive elements like fiber are already in place and only the Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 11

12 base station hotel, not the whole infrastructure, needs to be migrated. However, there are hidden costs and problems with DAS LTE upgrade. For instance, passive DAS suffers high losses at high frequencies so will be challenged in LTE roll-outs above 2GHz. And there are issues with active DAS systems ability to support multifrequency networks crucial in LTE or TDD systems. Innovations in DAS: DAS is often portrayed as an either/or alternative to small cells, and the latter is certainly an alternative way to provide additional 3G or LTE coverage in targeted areas. But the vendors are keen to position their technology as a complement to small cells, especially before the metrocell achieves very low price points, and many innovations center on this integration, as well as improving DAS s ability to carry multiple access technologies including Wi-Fi. Work is also focusing on addressing problems with multiband or TDD networks amid the advent of LTE, for which both are critical. For instance, Zinwave has pioneered wideband active DAS, which can support different frequencies and duplex schemes without service specific hardware overlays. Key requirements How far addressed by DAS Comments High capacity xx Best capacity relies on fiber everywhere New devices and BYOD xx Only a few emerging DAS systems support Wi-Fi 100% coverage xxx Very strong High user density xx Challenged when copper based or at high frequencies Integrated voice/data xx DAS has been mainly targeted at voice, LTE upgrades in sight Strong user experience/qos xx QoS issues above 2GHz Security xxx Under carrier control Quick to deploy x Very slow, heavy infrastructure requirements Flexible layout and capacity Centralized management xx xx BTS neutral, and active DAS has flexible layout, but all DAS has limited ability to support multiple frequencies and modulations without hardware overlays. Single backhaul Depends on configuration Cost x Very high roll-out and upgrade costs especially as best performance needs fiber everywhere Seamless mobility xxx Extension of mobile system Figure 4. How far DAS addresses key requirements for indoor enterprise wireless Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 12

13 Key strengths: Scalability and coverage are key strengths, and their importance grows in relation to the size of the installation Cost effectiveness improves in public venues where DAS supports multiple carriers Where already installed, LTE upgrade may be simplified Key weaknesses: Not cost competitive in most scenarios, except very large, multicarrier venues Its cost basis increasingly challenged by the new economics of small cells and Wi-Fi Time to deploy is prohibitive Lacks flexibility for complex multiband scenarios Integration with Wi-Fi immature Ill suited to scenarios without significant fiber, as copper DAS is being outmoded Costly for enterprises customers Summary: Remains incumbent option for large venues and buildings with its ability to scale based on just a few base stations, but even recent innovations are not addressing key barriers of cost and time to deployment. Some vendors position a DAS/small cell combination, with the latter filling capacity gaps cost effectively, but the same effect can be achieved using more scalable approaches to small cell deployments. c) Present Generation indoor/enterprise small cells and systems Enterprise small cells and systems are a relatively new addition to the range of options for indoor enterprise wireless and mobility. They evolved from the residential femtocell, which effectively placed a small 3G or LTE base station on a single-chip platform, creating a compact, low cost, low power solution for improving indoor signal strength and/or adding capacity in well targeted areas. This basic technology has been extended considerably over recent years and now embraces private cells for larger locations such as businesses, as well as public access products for both indoor and outdoor use by enterprises or mobile carriers. In all cases, a small cellular base station is installed to serve a targeted area where capacity or coverage is particularly needed. Private cells are often backhauled by existing infrastructure such as DSL, while public access or venue versions need specific backhaul such as fiber or microwave. The small cells are managed by a core network-based controller, incorporated in the operator s femtocell gateway. Carriers have started to install 3G enterprise cells for customers, and LTE models in a few countries such as Japan. Multimode products are on the horizon. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 13

14 ,000 units Enterprise Indoor public access Figure 5. Shipments of small cells for enterprise deployments, and for public access in indoor venues Source: Maravedis Rethink There are many advantages to the small cell approach and, since it is only at the start of its evolution, we can expect many new innovations as well as a steep downward price curve for the base stations themselves. Advantages of enterprise small cells and systems include: Improved cellular coverage and signal strength indoors Ability to target capacity where it is needed Strong support for full mobility and voice/video QoS with small cell systems that can scale Carrier control and integration with the macro network Self-organizing network (SON) features are built into the standards Disadvantages: Most enterprise small cell options are primarily standalone units, which work well to bring capacity to a small building or a notspot. However, this approach is not easily scalable without significant decisions being made about how large numbers of small cells are engineered, deployed, and managed. An enterprise small cell is a good choice for a smaller office or organization of fewer than 150 users, but needs a more mature and complex platform behind it to be truly scalable which alters the economics. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 14

15 Small cells may incorporate self-organizing capabilities but there is still often a trade-off between the number of cells needed to meet intensive enterprise or venue capacity requirements, and optimal RF planning. A key decision relates to how the small cells work with the macro network. The usual approach, based on a femtocell gateway, may rely on hard handover, which limits mobility, QoS and scalability, or on the Iurh soft handover protocol, which is as-yet unproven. Until Wi-Fi is integrated, WLANs and small cells will operate as parallel networks. Standards in key areas like interoperability with the macro network/mobile core are immature Key requirement How far addressed by small cells Comments High capacity xxx Capacity well targeted New devices and BYOD xx Integrated Wi-Fi currently in the future 100% coverage xx Hotspot approach common High user density xxx Can be focused on areas of densest use Integrated voice/data xxx As macro network Strong user experience/qos xx Issues of handover and interference once deployments scale up Security xxx Under carrier control Quick to deploy xxx Single small cells easy to deploy with existing backhaul Flexible layout and capacity Centralized management xxx xx Capacity easily mapped to need Depends on configuration Cost xx Unit costs falling quickly but investment in management systems will be needed, plus large numbers of cells to achieve full coverage Seamless mobility xx Depends on configuration, handover issues can affect full mobility Figure 6. How far enterprise small cells addresses key requirements for indoor enterprise wireless and mobility Innovations in small cells and systems: There is a growing ecosystem around enterprise small cells and this will help drive a wave of innovation to expand the functionality of an as-yet nascent platform. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 15

16 Upcoming innovations on the horizon include: Multi-technology small cells will be important for enterprises to optimize their capacity and resource allocation. Dual-mode 3G/LTE cells are on the horizon, as are models which incorporate Wi-Fi. Anti-interference and SON capabilities are being enhanced and will continue to evolve with the advent of LTE-Advanced. The evolution of complex enterprise and metrocell products based on the systemon-chip architecture seen in femtocells will drive down costs Key strengths: At the start of innovation cycle, so features and economics will improve rapidly Affordable way to address coverage and capacity weak spots, supporting cellular voice as well as data Excellent approach to indoor coverage and capacity for smaller enterprises Can support new applications and cloud services, incorporating location and presence awareness Integration with WLANs and PBX will allow small cells to complement existing systems Key weaknesses: Scalability once an organization goes beyond about 150 users, or a handful of small cells, issues arise with soft hand-off, seamless experience, one-point management and small cell to small cell and macro interference. Limited integration with other networks at this point, restricting ability to balance traffic optimally between cellular and Wi-Fi Summary: Good solution to boost capacity and indoor signals in smaller enterprises but has limited ability to scale or, as yet, to integrate with other networks. d) Other solutions: There is an emerging category of small cell systems and solutions which relates to extending macro network coverage indoors, and improving its signal quality once there. This has been the default approach for supporting mobile coverage within corporate buildings and venues, but has clear disadvantages. However, cellular networks were designed from outside in, when most traffic originated outdoors, and when low GSM frequencies supported better indoor penetration than subsequent networks in higher bands. Key methods of improving the quality of coverage when extending the macro network indoors are intelligent repeaters, and relays. Relay: In LTE-Advanced, multi-hop relaying is one of the candidate enabling techniques for coverage extension. A wireless relay is placed inside a building in order to reduce Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 16

17 the building penetration path loss. A relay can either perform analog signal amplification, or a decode and forward operation, which supports full bandwidth reuse. Intelligent repeaters: These devices receive RF signals, amplify and retransmit them to extend range in both the uplink and downlink. They can also enhance capacity because they help reduce interference by enabling focused coverage design. However, they can also create interference the supporting macrocell. Modern repeaters incorporate diversity on the uplink, and include automatic interference cancellation. Despite these advances, it is unlikely that macro network enhancement will be a solution of choice in future for enterprise locations, provided the indoor-specific approaches continue to improve in terms of price, time to deploy and ease of management. 3. The emergence of scalable small cell systems As outlined in the preceding sections, there are several main options for indoor enterprise wireless and mobility, and a wave of innovation occurring within each one. However, every solution has pros and cons, and so most larger enterprises and venues will need to deploy more than one technology. This is driving a great deal of development in combined platforms which integrate two or more approaches. For instance, cellular and Wi-Fi networks are being more tightly connected at various points including hand-off and authentication (Passpoint), devices (rise of multimode mobile products), common operator gateways and management systems; and even all-in-one access points. DAS is sometimes being used to carry Wi-Fi, and can be deployed in conjunction with small cells, with the latter often acting as feeders. In all cases, though, early work has often been on device or hardware convergence, whereas the real value will come from the management and coordination platforms which pull all the elements together into a seamless whole. These will become increasingly vital to the business case as enterprise needs become more complex and they need to rely on many technologies. And increasingly they will turn to hosted platforms. There will be rising attention, then, to scalable platforms which help to combine the advantages of different approaches in a way that is seamless to the enterprise as well as the end user, and does not require significant amounts of customized design and management. The small cell market is starting to mirror Wi-Fi of years ago when the industry saw the emergence of scalable and enterprise-class Wi-Fi systems that surpassed the limits of residential Wi-Fi. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 17

18 Scalable small cell systems/enterprise RANs One example of a scalable multi-access small cell system is the E-RAN (Enterprise- Radio Area Network), an architecture developed by Spidercloud Wireless. This supports a multi-access system (3G, LTE and dual-band Wi-Fi) and addresses many of the scalability and mobility issues which continue to dog small cells and Wi-Fi, while coming in at significantly lower cost and time to deployment than DAS. The differentiation lies in its architecture, which centers on a Services Node (SCSN) that can ontrol over 100 self-organizing, multi-technology small cells that are powered over the Ethernet LAN. This node is a radio access and wi-fi controller which sits locally within the enterprise and aggregates a large number of small cells, managing soft hand-off and interference and integrating with the organization s intranet, PBX and other systems. The Services Node provides a single interface to the operator core. This contrasts with most small cell which rely on core network-based controllers based on the small cell gateway. The Services Node provides secure connections to the Radio Nodes (SCRNs), small cells which support 16 or 32 simultaneous voice and data channels. But, since it s built as a system, the overall capacity mirrors the benefits of a switched LAN. Via applications programming interfaces, the Services Node gains a logical view of all devices on the E-RAN and can deliver secure services to them all. Operators have a single location to aggregate and manage large numbers of nodes. A local controller approach provides several benefits: A complex indoor network, including multiple access technologies, can be treated as a single unit with one interface to the core, with SON technology removing RF planning complexities effectively and managing interference This also allows for scalability to high numbers of cells, and even multiple clusters, while retaining a coordinated approach. By contrast, relying on a centralized or core-based gateway for mobility management and interference coordination does not scale beyond about a dozen small cells. The E-RAN appears as a single RNC (radio network controller) implemented in the Services Node. Users do not have to shift between RNCs when the move around, and soft handover between small cells is supported. The Services Node supports configuration, performance, security and fault management from a single point. Installation is rapid (comparable with Wi-Fi) High backhaul efficiency with transport based on IP and Ethernet. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 18

19 Local switching to allow secure access to the Intranet and PBX without special client software. The system runs in open-access mode and does not cause interference like closed-access systems. Enterprise access to special services is based on the SIM identity thus allowing the public and enterprise employees to share same infrastructure securely. The enterprise controller supports better QoS levels, including seamless mobility and consistent throughput levels, than Wi-Fi or a core-based controller. It supports soft (make before break) handovers whereas core network-based small cell controllers typically use hard handover (break before make, which has poor mobility and QoS support, and does not allow for local switching). Figure 7. The SpiderCloud E-RAN platform Key strengths: Cost base and time to deploy are comparable to Wi-Fi, and are maintained regardless how far the network is scaled up Integrated 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi for optimal balance of coverage and capacity Seamless handover and mobility, increasingly important for enterprises as mobile voice and video usage rises Enterprise-side controller maximizes quality of experience Operator controlled, enabling large installations to outsource complexities of their networks, and small enterprises to avoid having to recruit new skills internally Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 19

20 Opportunity to create sticky high value enterprise premise based Services using Wi-Fi and the Service Node s virtualized onboard x86 hosting environment Key weaknesses: Relatively low profile in the market so far Needs to make industry case for local, rather than core network-based, controller Summary: Leading the new wave of enterprise indoor wireless and mobility systems, which will feature high scalability, full coverage and mobility, enhanced levels of QoS, and fully integrated management. However, the concept is a new step so will need to build confidence among operators, which will be the main channel into enterprises. In the future, mobile operators could enable traditional enterprise resellers to also supply SpiderCloud into enterprises. 4. The enterprise wireless matrix The E-RAN, like any other approach, will not be ideal in every scenario and will have its particular sweet spots. In particular, these would include enterprises which: Medium sized businesses which expect to want to scale up their capacity or coverage area significantly over the coming years Organizations which are very reliant on full mobility especially for voice and video Large enterprises and venues which do not have DAS installed, or want to avoid a costly DAS upgrade, but need to cover large areas quickly Companies which want an operator managed platform to save cost, risk and complexity for their own teams Organizations wanting full Wi-Fi integration as well as the wide area mobility of cellular The following matrix summarizes the findings of the preceding sections and indicates the sweet spot for each main indoor wireless option. As the matrix shows, the choices of indoor wireless platform vary according to the size of the organization and the key requirements driving its network roll-out. For instance, a small company whose main concern is to keep costs and effort low can rely on a macro network enhancement such as an intelligent repeater, but this solution rapidly runs out of steam in larger installations, with the coverage and QoS trade-offs negating the benefits even for cost-sensitive firms. Maravedis-Rethink 2013 All Rights Reserved Page 20

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