Cisco's Small-Cell Solutions Not Unexpected, But Important

By Arselia Gales Comments

Cisco will introduce its new small-cell offerings next week at Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona.

The equipment giant said on Tuesday that will offer a small-cell platform and an outdoor backhaul platform. The products are a standalone 3G small cell, a 3G module that’s interoperable with Cisco’s existing carrier Wi-Fi access points and the outdoor backhaul router.

“Cisco’s move to integrate 3G small cell technology into its Aironet Access Point portfolio is important because it is the company’s first broadly available 3GPP cellular base station offer," commented Yankee Group principal analyst Ken Rehbehn, commenting specifically on a Computerworld article. "The move, however, is not unexpected. Cisco demonstrated its interest in the rapidly growing licensed mobile equipment market when it invested early in femtocell pioneer ip.access. Later, Cisco served as system integrator for AT&T’s femtocell offering called the Microcell, based on the ip.access product."

Rehbehn also believes that the company recognizes its limitations in a market where suppliers of macro base stations dominate wide-area outdoor coverage with highly coordinated radio systems.

"By focusing on the small cell market and by doing so by augmenting a highly respected service provider Wi-Fi solution, Cisco gains an avenue for attack by providing a compelling indoor offer to mobile operators. But the market segment should quickly heat up as a macro-cellular suppliers work to enhance and expand their own small cell and service provider Wi-Fi for mobile operators," he said.

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