In part 2 of his talk, Ubiquisys CTO Will Franks discusses our smart cell, developed in collaboration with Intel, which uses an integrated computing platform to store, process and serve data at the edge of the cloud to provide an unparalleled user experience. Watch this part of talk to find out how the smart cell works and how it’s going to benefit users, operators and content/app providers.
Part 1 explored the latest trends in mobile data usage and their impact on small cell technologies.
Smart Cells are about extending the cloud to the edge of the network.
Backhaul defines the small cell hotspot experience
Why would you want to do smart cells?
- User experience – local content delivery is always better than long distance streaming, especially over congested backhaul
- If you have an air interface that can support 3G, LTE and WiFi then you are likely to have considerably more bandwidth over the air than on your backhaul, so optimising backhaul becomes a priority
- New application opportunities, which quite a number of operators are pursuing.
Now add our computing platform
Working with Intel, we’ve designed and integrated a comms-tuned computing platform into our small cell.
Enter the smart cell
Now we have an intelligent platform at the edge of the network, narrowing the gap between what is the internet world and the 3GPP world. There are no standards issues here at all. Our primary concern was to deliver those applications to the edge of the network in a fully secure manner.
So the smart cell is a hybrid device comprising small cell, computing platform and applications that run on that platform.
Demo use case: cache applications
We’ve been demonstrating some of these applications just outside on a smart cell running live on the Orange network.
One of the biggest challenges for small cells in indoor public spaces is viral behaviour. A group of people watching football in a bar are very likely to watch the same video clips, clogging-up the backhaul and downgrading everyone’s data performance. Proactive caching means that the first time a video is watched it is also stored in a self-managing cache, with all subsequent views being served directly from the cell. The result is better video performance, better general performace for all users, and reduced backhaul congestion.
The second example is the predictive caching of popular content, like news feeds and the ad pics from facebook. These are periodically downloaded to the cache when backhaul is available.
Both of these examples are informed by and serve 3G, LTE and WiFi – a converged service.
More Edge Cloud applications
There are many other applications available:
- Video and ad servers to deliver broadcast content locally
- Upload proxy apps to allow faster social media uploads
- Processor intensive apps previously only available in the core network such as virus scanning and video rate adaptation.
Small cells come in many flavours, not just outdoor cells and home femtocells. Indoor hotspots are a particular sweetspot as this is where most data is consumed and where sites are readily available.
Technology developed from femtocells applies to all of the segments, especially adaptive self-management and the Iuh interface.
Smart cells add a new dimension to the small cell opportunity, bringing the best of cloud and core closer to mobile users, and enabling increasing convergence of licensed and unlicensed wireless technologies.