UK small cell specialist ip.access has launched its Viper platform, which is designed to make the unlicensed 3.5 GHz band available to operators of all types.
In common with many small cell initiatives Viper is targeted at businesses that may be looking to augment their LTE coverage and capacity in office buildings and other densely populated environments. It combines a few technologies into a platform designed to make it easy to implement, including a virtualised gateway and an ‘access-as-a-service’ delivery model.
“Viper gathers together four innovations and extends them into new bands, specifically the citizen’s broadband opportunity in the US, which is a new licensing scheme the FCC put into place last year to make150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band available for general use,” Nick Johnson, founder and CTO of ip.access, told Telecoms.com. “It’s opening up a new level of service provider, such as MVNOs who want to provide access now have a way of doing it that doesn’t depend on a licensed spectrum owner. It’s LTE being deployed like wifi.”
The concept of ‘five bars in a box’ is one ip.access is keen to convey, with the objective being to make improved cellular performance as simple as buying and installing a wifi router currently is. “The Viper platform allows everyone to get five-bar 3G and 4G coverage anywhere in their premises as easily as deploying enterprise wifi,” said Malcolm Gordon, ip.access CEO. “With more than 80% of mobile data being consumed indoors, in-building cellular coverage is becoming a must-have.”
The idea is that, essentially, you install the Viper small cell and your cellular coverage woes are behind you thanks to ip.access dealing with all the behind the scenes technical stuff. Another feature of Viper is SUMO (short for super-MOCN), which allows the cell to be used by multiple carriers and there is a virtualisation layer that enables multiple small cells to be presented as a single one to the network.