Small Cell Forum clears the path for enterprise deployments

The Small Cell Forum rolled out a new release designed to make it easier for mobile operators to deploy small cells within businesses. "Release Two: Enterprise" leverages group members' experiences and best practices from successful deployments.

The release is comprised of 20 new or revised documents, including a look at market drivers, a comprehensive business case, enterprise reference architecture, self-organizing/optimizing network (SON) use cases, co-deployment of cellular with Wi-Fi, enterprise IT integration, plus backhaul and deployment advice. 

The forum noted that existing small cell deployments have been pioneered by some 50 large operators in developed markets, but its release program aims to help every type of operator around the globe roll out small cells.

"The deployment of small cells in the enterprise--which is primarily coverage driven--can be applied to government buildings, hotels, retail outlets and hospitals, as well as small businesses or corporate campuses," said Gordon Mansfield, chairman of the forum and executive director of small-cell solutions and radio access network delivery at AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T).

Based on research from Mobile Experts, the forum says it expects 11.5 million non-residential indoor small cells to be deployed by 2018.

AT&T's Gordon Mansfield explains Release 2. (Source: Small Cell Forum)

In related news, Quortus this week announced its new ECX Enterprise Concentrator and ECX Enterprise Gateway products, which can be installed by a mobile operator on customer premises equipment (CPE) or as a hosted solution. With the ECX Enterprise Concentrator, access points can be aggregated in to a single virtual access point, allowing onsite voice and data traffic to be handled locally as desired. It also handles cell-to-cell handover locally. The ECX Enterprise Gateway enables mobile data to be offloaded on the enterprise's own network to increase data speeds.

Both products are scheduled for commercial availability in the first quarter of 2014.

Quortus said the products were developed in alignment with the Small Cell Forum's new enterprise release. Company CEO Andy Odgers served on the group's Release Steering Committee.

The Small Cell Forum previously released a package of documents outlining the use of small cells in a residential context. In February, the forum will release the first part of its guidelines for outdoor urban cells with a second and final part expected in June.

For more:
- see this Small Cell Forum release and this webpage
- see this Quortus release
- see this EETimes article

Related articles:
Infonetics: Femtocell focus is moving from consumer market to enterprise
Jarich: 10 things I hate about small cells
Mobile operators draw a new small cell order in 2014
Fixed/Mobile convergence draws near
Report: Small cells market returning to growth in 2013

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