SpiderCloud adding LTE to enterprise small cell system

SpiderCloud Wireless is scaling up its operations to address additional markets and is adding LTE capability to its small cell enterprise radio access network (E-RAN) systems.

"We're at a point now where we're scaling and are also able to address the U.S. market and other markets," Ronny Haraldsvik, SpiderCloud CMO, told FierceBroadbandWireless.

SpiderCloud's portfolio of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) enterprise small cells already includes 3G small cell and a 3G plus dual-radio Wi-Fi small cell. The new SCRN-210 LTE small cell with 2x2 MIMO will be available at the end of 2013's second quarter.

By adding LTE to its E-RAN systems, SpiderCloud intends to enable mobile operators to co-deploy up to 100 3G, 3G plus Wi-Fi,and LTE small cell radio nodes that are managed by a single services node (SCSN), which consists of a 3G radio network controller (RNC), a Wi-Fi controller and an LTE gateway inside a single customer premises-based appliance.

"This new announcement gives operators the flexibility to add LTE once they get to a point that they actually want to add LTE into our small cell network," Haraldsvik said, acknowledging LTE penetration is still quite low across the wireless industry. "This is something our system needs to have, but we know pragmatically that 3G's going to be around for a long, long time, and 3G plus Wi-Fi is going to sustain operators for quite some time," he added.

LTE will become important for small cells placed indoors as LTE penetration reaches 25-30 percent, "and the U.S. is much further along in those deployments so it's important for us to have it in our system," said Haraldsvik. If operators opt to add indoor LTE access nodes after an E-RAN is deployed, they can do a software upgrade to enable the SCSN to support LTE.

SpiderCloud's overall product pitch is that it can enable mobile operators to deploy a scalable, small cell system inside an enterprise using the existing LAN and infrastructure Ethernet and connect the system back to the operator's core. The system's design avoids interference issues found in femtocell deployments but delivers the scale of a distributed antenna systems (DAS), said Haraldsvik.

The licensed radios can be deployed as quickly as Wi-Fi and also include Wi-Fi capability, he added. "This system is as easy as Wi-Fi to install. It doesn't take an RF expert to install it," said Haraldsvik.

Because SpiderCloud's SCSN takes over the role of the radio network controller that is normally deployed at a cell site, it enables more than 100 radio nodes--i.e., small cells--that link to the SCNC to have one connection back to the mobile core. That means a system of 3G and LTE small cells would appear as one cell to the mobile network 3G Iuh-compliant gateway and as a single eNodeB to an evolved packet core (EPC) network. Further, those self-optimizing, self-organizing nodes can serve in excess of 10,000 connected smartphones and tablets.

NEC is reselling SpiderCloud's technology, and in February the startup announced that with the support of Vodafone it had launched its small-cell wireless system in a number of UK-headquartered enterprises. Prior to that announcement, Vodafone tested SpiderCloud's technology in its labs for three years, said Haraldsvik.

SpiderCloud is based Silicon Valley, Calif., and is backed by investors Charles River Ventures, Matrix Partners, Opus Capital and Shasta Ventures. The vendor, which is headed by industry veteran Michael Gallagher--former CEO of FiberTower and Flarion--was named to the Fierce15 list in 2010.

For more:
- see this SpiderCloud release

Related articles:
Hodge-podge networks will be norm in LTE world
SpiderCloud Wireless - Top Wireless Company 2010: FierceWireless, Fierce 15
Where are venture capitalists spending their money?
VC money still flowing to wireless

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