Ubiquisys

Ubilogogif Private company startup formed in 2004, based in Swindon, UK became one of the leading independent vendors. They demonstrated a 3G femtocell in February 2006 and launched the Zonegate product in Feb 2007. Unlike some other independent vendors they do not offer solutions for other radio technologies (2G etc) and do not provide their own femtocell gateway. Their products are sold mainly through partnerships with NEC and NSN.

In April 2013, Cisco announced plans to acquire Ubiquisys for $310 million and the transaction completed in May. Read our interview with Jared Headley of Cisco on their plans for Ubiquisys, which will be merged into the Cisco Mobility Business Group.

History

The company has a strong approach to partnership, and have announced successful interworking with other vendors such as NEC and NSN. Their femtocells form the core part of NEC's femtocell solution which has been trialled and commercially deployed with many networks. Their femtocell also interworks with Nokia Siemens gateway, and has been selected by them for OEM resale. Its partnership portfolio also includes Intel (for their Smart Cell) and several services/application solutions across mobile and IP networks.

It announced the choice of the picoChip modem as the basis of its 3G product design in April 2006, but switched to Percello (now part of Broadcom) in 2009. They selected Texas Instruments in 2011 for their LTE/Multi-mode product development.

During 2007, it teamed up with NetGear to produce a complete Femtocell Home Gateway. This residential gateway incorporates DSL broadband modem, WiFi, VoIP and 3G Femtocell. This was visibly demonstrated and shown at Mobile World Congress, where the product manager gave a timeframe of 3 months to "spin" the product to meet specific operator customisations (physical format/colour/software branding etc.) The DSL modem is ADSL2+ capable and includes all the common DSL modem capabilities in addition to the 3G UMTS femtocell.

Verified with Motive's Home Device Manager using TR-069 standards for remote management of (originally DSL Modem) consumer devices in December 2007.

The devices were originally manufactured by Sony Technium in the UK. The company strategy evolved to working with several ODM vendors in the Far East, specifically SerComm and Tecom, who focus on high volume manufacturing at low cost. This has allowed them to achieve low hardware production price points and the proven ability to scale up to high volumes. Operators and/or System Integrators can buy the hardware directly from these ODMs, customising the format/packaging/colour etc. to their specific needs. The software is then downloaded and licenced from Ubiquisys when the units are installed.

After successful trials, was awarded a contract from Softbank, Japan (via NEC as prime contractor) for IMS architecture based femtocells in September 2008, followed by commercial launch in January 2009. Both residential indoor and rural outdoor variants were deployed.

Selected by SFR France for the commercial launch in December 2009 (again with NEC as prime contractor), with over 200,000 units in use by mid-2012.

Technology

 

Ubiquisys-G3mini

 

 

Their G3 model shown on the left (based on the Percello PRC6500 chipset) was adopted by NEC. Announced in February 2010, the product is sized at 8cm tall, handles up to 8 concurrent calls and HSPA data rates of 14.4Mbits download and 5.7Mbit/s uplink.

An extensive range of product formats, both indoor and outdoor, have been developed by their ODM partners Sercomm and Tecomm. Their technology is also embedded in Public Wireless outdoor small cells, which have been marketed and trialled primarily in the US.

Strongly innovative, the company's technologies include:

CloudBase: Lifecycle management of the software, handling upgrades, licencing and authorisation from central download servers

EdgeCloud: Caching content within the small cell, reducing backhaul traffic and latency when serving frequently accessed content

ActiveSON: Forming a cluster or grid of co-operating small cells which work together to optimise performance

ActiveRadio/SideStep: RF optimisation and self-organisation to achieve best performance throughout a HetNet

The company stated it had shipped its 50,000th public small cell in 2012, as part of a $19 funding round. This is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of residential and enterprise small cells already shipped or licenced to date.

Investors in Ubiquisys have injected funding in several round since 2006, with a further $19M raised in August 2012 specifically for Public Access and LTE development, bringing the total investment to around $81M over 6 years. Investors include Google, T-Mobile Ventures and SerComm.

They demonstrated their multi-mode 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi SmartCell in September 2012 and again at Mobile World Congress in February 2013.

Cisco announced their intent to acquire the company in April 2013 for $310 million and the transaction completed in May. Total investment funding had been around $81 million.

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