Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) is making a big play for the enterprise and campus environment with the introduction of its Radio Dot System, a miniature disk-shaped cellular radio that weighs only 300 grams and will be available commercially in late 2014.
Ericsson's Radio Dot weighs about 10 ounces (300g) and connects to a larger base station.
During a webcast, held in conjunction with the company's industry analyst meeting in Silicon Valley, Ericsson's Executive Vice President and head of Business Networks Johan Wiberg said that Dot will be able to connect to 2G, 3G and LTE networks and coordinate with the macrocell network. In addition, Dot will use the same software as the macrocell so that operators can improve network performance and provide seamless coverage and both indoors and outdoors. Wiberg added that although the first iteration of the Dot will not include Wi-Fi, the next version will.
Wiberg said that Dot fulfills a need for improved indoor coverage and noted that distributed antenna systems, while effective, are expensive. Likewise, he said that although picocells are cheaper than DAS, they are limited in terms of capacity and coverage.
Thomas Noren, head of product area radio and business unit networks at Ericsson, said that Dot will be spectrum frequency independent, will support self-optimizing networks and will have advanced LAN functionality. He added that if operators integrate their indoor and outdoor network, they can get better performance, which will help with the deployment of advanced services such as HD voice and VoLTE.
Noren added that operators can connect multiple Dots to each baseband unit. He noted that if operators connect 12 Dots to every macro base station, they could have up to 96 Dots with all possible ports and radios connected to one unit. "The system is so scalable. It will cover the vast majority of offices, airports, campuses and schools," Noren said.
But Ericsson certainly isn't the only company going after the enterprise market with small cells. SpiderCloud went on the defensive today, noting that the company already has deals with operators, including Vodafone.
As far as the DAS market, analysts noted that many DAS deployments are neutral host, meaning that they support multiple operators, a scenario that Ericsson did not address in its presentation.
Kris Rinne, SVP of network and product planning at AT&T (NYSE:T), also spoke during the webcast. Rinne provided a rundown of AT&T's requirements when it comes to small cells, but stopped short of saying that AT&T would use Ericsson's Dot product. However, she did say that the small cells are an integral part of the company's Project VIP and that by the end of 2015 AT&T plans to deploy 40,000 small cells to complement the macro network.
- see this press release
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