Jake Wright, Marketing Specialist | January 21, 2016

Indoor coverage remains a major issue in the world of telecoms; Small Cell Forum reports that as many as 61% of enterprises have noticeably poor indoor coverage (I’m sure many of us can relate to that!) Yet even with this gap, the number of enterprise femtocells are only projected at 500K, as opposed to millions of Wi-Fi access points.

One major reason for this discrepancy is that small cells are much more complex, expensive, and time-consuming to deploy and manage than Wi-Fi solutions.

So how can enterprise solutions reduce their cost and complexity while improving indoor coverage? The two market inflection points of Moore’s Law (where a single system on chip can enable multi-mode enterprise small cells at much lower cost) and virtualization (where any enterprise orchestration functionality can be virtualized on any COTS server) will drive down this cost and complexity.

“White Box” Small Cells Are the Future of Enterprise Networks

Moore’s Law enables low cost “white box” hardware that is made “smart” by intelligent orchestration. By enabling the use of white box femtos, such an enterprise solution would also provide the flexibility to choose whatever hardware vendor best suits each scenario, rather than requiring expensive proprietary equipment. This flexibility is desirable for enterprises because it allows them to choose from many hardware options depending on their network needs and pricing constraints.

Virtualization Plays a Vital Role

Enterprise networks of today and tomorrow require several different gateway functionalities. To help reduce the cost of employing several different gateway functions (including femto, small cell, Wi-Fi, and security gateways, just to name a few) the network controller should virtualize many gateways as Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) on one COTS platform. Doing so would enable virtualized enterprise networks (enterprise vRAN) for a much lower cost as operators need only employ one “box”, rather than say five to ten. HetNet Gateway (HNG) from Parallel Wireless is a multi-mode network orchestrator that does just that; by virtualizing many gateway functions and VNFs on one platform, HNG provides all gateway functionalities required for enterprise networks while enabling easier management of these network functions.

Seamless Integration With the Macro Network – Easier Than You’d Think!

Enterprise networks also require cohesive integration with the macro network. Aggregation capabilities virtualized on HetNet Gateway not only enables flexibility and scalability in the network, but also enables enterprise networks to be “good neighbors” with the adjacent macros. This enables seamless handoffs that help with end user quality of experience.

Creating New and Improved Enterprise Services

This reimagined enterprise solution not only improves indoor coverage at a significantly reduced cost, but also enables new service offerings for both operators and business owners that otherwise would be lacking from these networks. Auto-configuration, self-optimization, and traffic mitigation capabilities can all be provided by a HNG to help better the network. By including network coordination capabilities, this network orchestrator improves network resource utilization and optimizes user traffic to improve indoor coverage while also reducing costs, extending existing network investments, and reducing the impact on the overall network performance. Additionally, interference mitigation capabilities on HNG will help to reduce network congestion to further improve the network performance and reduce strain on the core.

HetNet Gateway also offers several voice services such as VoLTE and low-cost VoWiFi. VoLTE enabled by HNG is more efficient than existing VoLTE services as it need only run over one virtualized gateway (HNG) rather than over each gateway individually, thus reducing latency. HNG’s multi-mode capabilities also allows the use of existing voice services such as 3G and since HetNet Gateway has visibility into any type of traffic (any G cellular or Wi-Fi), voice calls can be given priority to ensure that calls are not dropped. Because HNG enables newer voice services such as VoLTE and VoWiFi while also providing existing voice services, enterprises are given more flexibility for their voice calls. As all services are anchored on HNG, handoff between voice services is made seamless so there are less dropped calls. HNG also enables seamless handoff between different macro networks so users’ calls will not drop once they leave the building.

In addition to voice services, this solution also enables new services such as Internet of Things (IoT) that can create new opportunities for business owners such as enabling smart buildings. IoT enables landlords to make their enterprises “smart” by allowing them to automate functions such as power and temperature or can automate different machines such as printers or water coolers so they can intelligently order supplies when needed. This makes enterprise operations run more smoothly and efficiently which in turn helps reduce operational costs. Business owners and landlords can also offer Wi-Fi services as HNG incorporates both cellular as well as Wi-Fi. Because all communications are anchored on HNG, landlords can easily manage all components of their enterprise network, ranging from voice and data to M2M for IoT. Enterprises that employ this solution also make their enterprises compatible with smart cities initiative that are being deployed worldwide.

Indoor coverage, as many of us can attest to, often times leaves much to be desired. As this market continues to grow, vendors, landlords, and operators alike must take steps to improve enterprise network coverage. Solutions to this market should consider the use of a virtualized network controller coupled with low-cost white box femto cells, all seamlessly integrated with the macro network. These components, when working efficiently together, enable a significantly lower-cost enterprise network with drastically improved coverage and performance – something many of us welcome with open arms!

Learn more about reimagined enterprise solutions HERE!