The term Enterprise addresses any non-residential in-building including hotels, convention centres, transport hubs, offices, hospitals and retail outlets. It's not just intended for businesses to serve their own office staff.

This can be a more lucrative opportuntiy for small cell vendors than residential, because price points are higher. Equipment is sized larger, both RF power for wider coverage and increased processing for higher capacity. Third party systems integrators are often involved with the installation. Being indoor, products don't have to be mechanically as robust or weatherproof, and are often connected by a single Ethernet cable providing both power and backhaul.

Enterprise Small Cells make it economically viable

Smaller businesses and home workers have not been able to justify additional cellular equipment investments up to now - the additional call traffic they generate would not qualify for additional cellsites to be installed. This traffic is aggregated up with all other traffic in their area and cellsites are planned and installed based on total capacity and coverage demands. Enterprise small cells offer the opportunity to address these enterprise markets through low cost, self installed units which capitalise on the existing broadband connections available to most businesses.

Addressing the different size and scale of businesses

When looking at the enterprise market, the size of each segment grows tenfold. For example, in the UK, there are approximately:

  • 5,000 large enterprises
  • 50,000 small/medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • 500,000 small office/home office (SOHOs)

This excludes those working from home for large enterprises.ubiquisys-enterprise-femtocell SOHOs and SMEs would be the initial market entry. They tend to adopt new technology more quickly, and the low cost price puts this in reach of everyone. Their product, shown on the right hand side, is typical of the format available.

Larger business premises may benefit from a local controller which directly manages the cluster of enterprise femtocells, dealing with the local handoff and consolidating the signalling traffic. Spidercloud Wireless have developed a solution specifically targetted at this market, which is described in this interview with Ronny Haraldsvik, their CMO.

Often businesses have a mix of different sizes of building, ranging from remote workers operating independently through to large scale office blocks housing thousands of staff. Businesses seek to offer the same range of facilities to all their staff, regardless of location and this requires a mix of different products.If additional business services are combined with the enterprise femtocell offer, such as IT services for data backup, email to mobile etc. this could provide a package with additional benefits that is cheaper to deliver and has upside of additional revenue opportunities.

Outsourcing and other commercial models appearing

Some innovative network operators have specifically targetted the enterprise sector using small cells. Network Norway deployed femtocells for their enterprise customers both in the office and at their homes, capturing anything up to 80% of their mobile traffic. The remainder is handled either through their own macrocell network or via national roaming with the encumbent Telenor. This approach makes it quite cost effective to provide excellent coverage closely targetted at paying customers, while still offering good outdoor service. In principle, there is no reason why an MVNO may not also operate this way, providing it obtained the permission of its host network operator. Several MVNOs are believed to be trialling or offering this solution.

Outsourcing enterprise femtocell deployment is another option for network operators. A number of organisations and consortia are proposing and/or trialling solutions, including Cloudberry Norway (interview), NEC/COLT and NEC/Virgin (NEC interview).


DAS and Small Cells solutions become more intertwined

intertwinedDAS and Small Cells have in past years been positioned as strong competitors rather than collaborators. New technical solutions, new opportunities and new thinking are radically reshaping that perception. We consider some of the recent product announcements and regulatory changes which affect that view.

RSRF pioneer in-building DAS driven by Enterprise femtocells

sina khanifar rsrfWe’ve heard of some installers/system integrators combining small cells with simpler DAS systems to achieve full multi-operator service. I spoke with Sina Khanifar of RSRF, a US company that’s been doing exactly that. He shared some insights and real-world experience that you might not get from operators or product vendors.

ClearSky lights up Clearwater Beach Resort with multi-operator Small Cells

Shephards Beach Resort BeachPrestigious hotel resort complexes need to deliver 21st Century wireless service. Neutral host provider ClearSky Technologies employed a novel technique to raise service levels for all guests and employees, regardless of which host network operator they subscribe to. Clearwater resort General Manager Paul Andrews shared his perspective on the project and what it means for his guests, employees and business.

Vodafone Netherlands launch first commercial MEC small cell solution

Gopikrishna NECIf I’m honest, Mobile Edge Computing has seemed to me up to now to be a somewhat academic exercise. But this month sees a full commercial launch by Vodafone Netherlands of a comprehensive and tightly integrated solution. I spoke with NEC’s Yogarajah Gopikrishna, Head of Engineering and Strategy at NEC Europe, who developed and integrated the system based on SpiderCloud E-RAN small cells and their Service Node MEC server.

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    Residential

    Residential

    A significant number of users continue to report poor mobile coverage in their homes. There will always be areas which are uneconomic for mobile operator to reach. They range from rural areas

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    Enterprise

    Enterprise

    The term Enterprise addresses any non-residential in-building including hotels, convention centres, transport hubs, offices, hospitals and retail outlets. It's not just intended for businesses to

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    Urban

    Urban

    Urban small cells (sometimes also named metrocells) are compact and discrete mobile phone basestations, unobstrusively located in urban areas. They can be mounted on lampposts, positioned on the

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    Rural

    Rural

    A rural small cell is a low power mobile phone base station designed to bring mobile phone service to small pockets of population in remote rural areas. These could be hamlets, small villages or

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