SpiderCloud's E-RAN Eases In-Building Wireless Coverage for Enterprises

By Ashok Bindra September 02, 2010

On September 1, GigaOM announced the winners of Mobilize 2010 LaunchPad, a high-profile competition that recognizes the 10 most promising mobile startups. Amongst the top ten was SpiderCloud Wireless, recognized for developing an Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) to enable mobile operators address coverage and capacity issues inside the enterprise with a scalable E-RAN. Backed by $40 million in venture capital money, SpiderCloud is entering the enterprise in-building coverage space with a cheaper alternative to distributed antenna systems (DAS) and a better option to Femtocells.

According to SpiderCloud, its E-RAN platform promises a quantum leap in performance and cost reductions compared to alternatives like DAS and Femtocells, which face a scaling problem in the enterprise.

As per company’s web site description, E-RAN combines the proven enterprise wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) architecture approach with cellular technology to integrate cellular devices within the corporate infrastructure.

Although, the arrival of the Wi-Fi switch deployment architecture unlocked the enterprise Wi-Fi market and unleashed a multi-billion dollar industry seemingly overnight, SpiderCloud recognized from day one that standalone radio nodes using licensed spectrum will encounter the same scaling challenges inside enterprise environments as Wi-Fi did in its early days. Therefore, says SpiderCloud, its E-RAN system has been designed from the ground up to adopt the enterprise Wi-Fi deployment architecture for licensed-spectrum applications.

Recognizing that standalone radio nodes are not sufficient to support enterprise deployments beyond the small office/home office (SOHO) environment, the SpiderCloud’s E-RAN solution introduces a new system architecture that consists of SmartCloud service node (SCSN) and SmartCloud radio node (SCRN). The SCSN is the central control point of the overall cluster of SCRN nodes deployed throughout the enterprise.

It is developed for and sold to the mobile operators, said the maker. It will enable

operators to provide enterprises with coverage and capacity within local areas and  buildings, as well as campuses.

In the SpiderCloud solution, the enterprise would not be responsible for deploying and managing the system like it would be with DAS. However, it requires enterprises to make a commitment to the operator.

In speaking to Urgent Communications, Ronny Haraldsvik, SpiderCloud’s vice president of marketing, said the sweet spot is enterprises with 100 to 10,000 employees. Though these types of businesses can't afford to install a DAS and manage it, they still need additional coverage and capacity for their workers who are using a large number of smartphones, according to Haraldsvik’s explanation to reporter Lynnette Luna.

As per the article in Urgent Communications, Haraldsvik said, "Our business proposition is to sell to the operator and have the operator's large business partner install the infrastructure in exchange from a commitment from the enterprise.” He further added, “The business case makes sense because the payback for operators is in months, not years.”

Regarding trials, Haraldsvik told Urgent Communications that user trials were on schedule for the fall, with commercial operations to begin by early next year.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

TechZone360 Contributor

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