Corning moves indoors with small cells with SpiderCloud acquisition

Troy A. Pentecost has been appointed to the additional positions of president and interim senior executive officer, effective immediately.
SpiderCloud develops small-cell network platforms for indoor use.

Corning said it has acquired SpiderCloud in a move aimed at tapping the burgeoning market for indoor small cells.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SpiderCloud, based in Milpitas, California, develops small-cell network platforms designed to improve coverage and capacity for wireless services inside buildings. The company will be integrated into Corning’s Optical Communications segment, which generated $3 billion in sales in 2016. Corning hopes to grow that business to $5 billion in sales by 2020.

“Wireless connectivity has become more a necessity than an amenity, and mobile operators and enterprise customers are seeking cost-effective solutions to enhance service for their users inside buildings,” said Clark Kinlin, executive vice president of Corning Optical Communications, in a press release. “With the acquisition of SpiderCloud Wireless, we believe our combined product solutions will help drive optical convergence and enable the advantages of fiber-deep architectures within the enterprise Local Area Network.”

In May, SpiderCloud Wireless announced the commercial availability of the Frequency Agile small cell, the SCRN-220, for its Enterprise RAN platform. The SCRN-220 is a single-carrier small cell that can be software configured for any of the major U.S. bands. The LTE bands supported are 2 (1900), 25 (1900), 4 (1700), 66 (2100), 12 (700) and 13 (700), with channel widths of 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz.

The single-carrier radio can be configured to any of five different frequency bands, and they will work for T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. Spidercloud is building the main product in 2, 25, 4, 66 and 12, with band 13 support more of a targeted build for IoT applications.

Corning is ramping up its small-cell pursuits just as Cisco is getting out of the market. Cisco this week confirmed an analyst’s report that it is discontinuing its licensed Universal Small Cell 8000 Series enterprise radio products, saying the market for small cells simply didn’t mature quickly enough.

Indeed, the market for small cells has been shackled by a lack of uniform practices and policies in both the public and private arenas. While some of those concerns are gradually being addressed, the segment still faces significant challenges as municipalities, state governments and even federal authorities struggle to strike a balance between allowing carriers to improve wireless services and respecting local concerns.