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Small cells: Suppliers race to provide multimode solutions

More than three quarters for mobile operators say they want multimode capability when deploying small cells. Multimode does not just mean 3G/LTE; operators also want solutions that integrate Wi-Fi. AT&T, which is in the process of deploying 40,000 small cells as part of its Project Velocity IP initiative, has said that it does not want to roll out any small cell deployments in 2014 that do not include Wi-Fi.

Chipmakers, OEMs and software developers are racing to deliver. Broadcom, Qualcomm and Freescale have all launched multimode small cell silicon solutions this year. Broadcom and Qualcomm integrate 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi. SpiderCloud Wireless, which makes small cell radio nodes that connect with one another through SON, recently launched a 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi solution based on Broadcom’s chipset.

“In this space, Broadcom is a year ahead of everybody else, when it comes to small cells, femtocells, and LTE,” said Ronny Haraldsvik of SpiderCloud Wireless. Broadcom’s closest competitor here is Qualcomm, which has recently partnered with Alcatel-Lucent to create small cell solutions. Haraldsvik thinks that Qualcomm’s investment in Alcatel-Lucent could actually lengthen the time-to-market for Qualcomm while it waits on its partner.

The SpiderCloud radio node can be upgraded to operate in two spectrum bands of LTE when mobile operators are ready to start re-purposing existing 3G spectrum. “As mobile data usage migrates from 3G to LTE in the next five years, SCRN-310 provides mobile operators with the flexibility they need and protects their investment in small cells,” said Amit Jain, vice president of product management for SpiderCloud Wireless.


Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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