Small cell start-up challenges femto vendors

US network technology startup SpiderCloud, which has developed a miniature 3G RAN, says it has solved the problem of in-building offload for enterprise use in commercial 3G cellular networks. The firm’s CEO, former Flarion exec Mike Gallagher, told that none of the femtocell solutions on the market can compete with his firm’s new solution, and said he was prepared to have a “bake-off” with any vendor that claimed to have a product that could deliver the same performance.

SpiderCloud said it has run a trial in which it integrated its solution into the live core network of an unnamed operator, delivering service to between 600 and 800 users in a building of 100,000 sq ft. Handling more than 3,000 voice calls and 50,000 HSPA data sessions each day during the trial, Gallagher said the installation scored higher than typical macro networks on voice quality average data throughput.

Gallagher said that SpiderCloud is working with operators in the US and Europe, and that he would be able to name them as commercial customers before the end of 2011. He added that some among those operators have told him they are prepared to turn away from traditional indoor solutions such as distributed antenna systems, having run trials of the SpiderCloud solution.

“They’ve said that DAS is economically unviable and could never perform like [our] system does. In this deployment we turned the system on and within 45 minutes it had self optimised and was ready to go. Compare that to a six-month lead time for a DAS system,” Gallagher said.

He offered other small cell solution providers, specifically femtocell players, the chance to try and outdo his product. “Anyone who wants to come down, just go and get 18 of your APs and let’s put them in a 100,000 square foot facility and monitor the results,” he said. “They’ve tried to do it and they’ve blown up their networks [in the process]” he said.

Julian Bright, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media was cautious about Gallagher’s claims. “On paper it sounds very persuasive,” said Bright. “But these things often do.”


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  1. Avatar Keith Day 04/10/2011 @ 1:33 pm

    It’s very easy for vendors to make aggressive claims against each other when they aren’t constrained by describing an operator’s launched product.

    At Ubiquisys we prefer to name real operators who are offering our self-organising femtocell grids to enterprises today – like Network Norway for example.

    We agree that traditional femtocells without real-time self-organisation and grid-forming ability are not practical for many environments. But equally the spidercloud reliance on a central controller adds unwanted complexity for enterprise customers.

  2. Avatar Moiz Baig 04/10/2011 @ 5:42 pm

    very interesting ….let’s talk 🙂

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