Industry analysts have been quick to describe Cisco’s acquisition of Ubiquisys as an important milestone in the emerging small cells market. That’s not surprising – Ubiquisys pioneered much of the intelligent technology that is making mass-scale deployments of small cells a commercial imperative. Autonomous, cognitive operation, automatic SON formation and cloud-based lifecycle management are just a few examples. When combined with Cisco’s comprehensive mobility portfolio and Wi-Fi expertise, they add-up to much more than the sum of their parts, forming a distinctive new small cell solution that complements macro networks and enables service providers to transition to next generation radio access networks.
Service providers around the world are multiplying data capacity to better serve the rapidly growing population of smartphone and tablet users. Small cells are the only solution that can combine massive capacity and maximum spectrum re-use with reduced operational costs. But realising these benefits demands a solution with intelligence – cells that can dynamically adapt to their environment to allow dense deployment; cells that work together without requiring expert planning and intensive operational management; cells which can operate autonomously from policies defined by central “hetnet” coordination systems. Most of the early small cells market has been focused on miniaturising base stations. Both Ubiquisys and Cisco have already taken it much further, building the intelligent systems that will simplify and densify small cell network deployments.
Many of the areas where small cells can make the biggest difference are indoor spaces, such as hotspots, enterprises, venues and concourses. These are environments where Wi-Fi already provides mobile internet services and where Cisco is a market and innovation leader. Multi-service small cells, intelligently combining 4G/3G and Wi-Fi, enable service providers to harmonise the capabilities of licensed and unlicensed technologies in a controlled manner, improving user experience. This is yet another example of the importance of intelligence in small cells and of the natural alignment between Cisco and Ubiquisys. You can see Cisco multi-service small cells and meet the team at the Small Cells World Summit in London on June 4-6.