Small Cells World Summit 2012 - Day 1

June 26, 2012, 12:40 p.m.
Nick Marshall, Research Director

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Small Cells World Summit 2012

The Small Cells World Summit opened today in London and provided some interesting news items which we summarize below. The summit will run through Thursday June 28 and we will be providing regular updates as news is announced.

Day 1 (June 26, 2012)

In the first day there was a flurry of activity around the semiconductors, service providers, software, equipment and standards areas.

In semiconductors we saw Texas Instruments announce a partnership with AirHop Communications for advanced SON software on TI’s new KeyStone architecture for small cells. SON is one of the major areas in which vendors can generate competitive advantages in small cells and by linking up with AirHop TI is well on the way towards helping their customers develop compelling value propositions.

We were also intrigued by Octasic’s announcement of the “Most Power Efficient Small Cell” for which they claim Micro Cell performance in a Femto Cell footprint. The company will be demonstrating the WhiteStar™ small cell which the company claims is the world’s smallest UMTS and LTE ready small cell with true SDR, multi-frequency and multi-standard – capable of operating 2 standards concurrently thanks to 2x2 MIMO.

There were also several important announcements in the software world with Aricent being selected by CPqD for LTE eNodeB solutions. CPqD, one of Latin America’s leading Communications Technology and R&D institutions plans to develop LTE RAN solutions for international markets including Brazil. CPqD recently demonstrated this solution in the 450MHz band to the Brazilian government. We believe that it is initiatives like this which will lend momentum to LTE build out in Latin America.

Also big news in the software area was SK telesys’ selection of the Radisys Trillium TOTALeNodeB software for small cell deployment in Korea. The Radisys Trillium TOTALeNodeB software was also recognized as a vital enabling technology on the Small Cell Forum Awards shortlist. Korea is probably one of the most advanced countries for small cells with all 3 service providers aggressively building out small cell networks and we expect this equipment will be widely deployed.

The equipment area did not disappoint with major announcements from Ubiquisys, Alcatel-Lucent and Symetricom. Ubiquisys demonstrated the Intel based small cell 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi access points. This is a sophisticated approach to small cell architecture and leverages the processing power and storage capabilities of “The Cloud” at the network edge – a concept Ubiquisys calls “Smart Cells.”

Perhaps an indication of the challenges in building and operating small cell and metro networks Alcatel-Lucent announced a new technology service which they call Metro Cell Express. Using the company’s lightRadio™ system Alcatel-Lucent will assume the responsibility of building the network for a customer and transfer it to the customer once it has been installed, fully integrated and shown to be delivering the performance required.

Last but not least in the standards area we saw two announcements which signal the start of carrier integrated Wi-Fi for mobile offload. The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the official start of their Wi-Fi certified Passpoint™ program for Hotspot 2.0 equipment. So far equipment from BelAir, Cisco and Ruckus has been certified along with chip solutions from Marvel, Broadcom, Intel, MediaTek and Qualcomm.

Not to be outdone the Wireless Broadband Alliance announced that major service providers are moving to trial Next Generation hotspots using the first commercially available equipment. A full list of the service providers is in the press release but it contains some big names like AT&T, BT, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, KT, SK Telecom, TeliaSonera, Telefonica among others. The WBA also highlight equipment vendors and in the list we also find some heavyweights like Aruba, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, Juniper, Ruckus and many more.