The mobile broadband revolution is making it possible to work from anywhere at any time, and now some professionals are finding that the hardest place to stay connected is at the office. As the influx of mobile devices overwhelms some corporate networks, more and more enterprises are turing to small cells to boost coverage and capacity.
Like residential femtocells, enterprise small cells can make use of IP broadband backhaul. But when large numbers of small cells are colocated, interference can be a problem. The Small Cell Forum recently published a best practices guide for enterprise small cell deployment, and recommended that in order to minimize interference, “the transmit power of connected mobiles should be limited; the femtocell coverage region should be kept relatively small (similar to Wi-Fi); and the femtocell downlink power should also be calibrated.”
Major network equipment vendors including Alcatel-Lucent and NSN have begun to offer enterprise small cell solutions to mobile operators. San Jose’s SpiderCloud Wireless is a pioneer in the field; the venture-backed company has been working on small cell networks since 2007. “We have been able to raise $106 million to go and solve a very big problem that we foresaw many years ago, which is you’re going to have to have a scalable system to complement the outside macro system in order to deal with the densification and capacity usage,” says SpiderCloud’s chief marketing officer Ronny Haraldsvik.
SpiderCloud’s solution hit the market several months ago and the company has since added LTE capability. The company has announced partnerships with Vodafone and NEC and says it is talking to U.S. carriers as well as potential enterprise customers. Haraldsvik says SpiderCloud has the only solution that can support soft handoffs, and that it can connect more than 100 radio nodes. “With us, you can have a system for two to three thousand people up and running in 3-4 days,” he says. “That’s actually a proven case study.”