Nextivity Launches Hybrid Off-air/Small Cell IBW System

June 29, 2017 — 

By J. Sharpe Smith

Senior Editor, AGL eDigest —

Nextivity is now shipping the Cel-Fi QUATRA in-building enterprise wireless system in North America, as well as globally. Cel-Fi QUATRA is designed to be a scalable, low-cost, easy-to-deploy active DAS in-building wireless buildings up up to 200,000 square feet.

Nextivity was founded in 2006 with the goal of alleviating carriers’ in-building coverage issues using a smart processor-controlled signal booster. After gaining funding from Goldman Sachs, Nextivity built and shipped its first off-air cellular booster product to a nationwide operator in Ireland the next year. Today, Nextivity ships multiple products with coverage up to 15,000 square feet into multiple tiers of the in-building wireless industry for various sizes of buildings used by businesses and residences.

The Cel-Fi QUATRA stands as a significant step forward for Nextivity as it enters the hotly sought after enterprise market for buildings up to 200,000 square feet, known as the middleprise. QUATRA can use either an off-the-air cellular signal or a small cell as the donor signal. The flexibility of the hybrid QUATRA allows the enterprise to light up the building with cellular coverage, while it waits for delivery of the small cell.

“We have an understanding of signal sources and how those signals, which bring capacity, get distributed around an environment in such an optimum fashion that you can do it economically and provide access to that capacity throughout the building,” said Warner Sievers, CEO, Nextivity.

A single QUATRA system consists of a network unit and four coverage units or remotes. The network unit connects to the carrier’s network either through a built-in antenna, an external antenna or, alternatively, a small cell provided by the carrier. The network unit is connected to the remotes via CAT5e cable, which carriers power as well as the cellular signal. Each remote broadcasts the same frequencies creating a super cell, eliminating the need for handoffs.

For larger areas, multiple QUATRA systems can used together to cover an area up to 200,000 square feet.

QUATRA supports WCDMA, HSPA+, LTE (FDD) wireless technologies, up to 100 dB in system gain in each band simultaneously.

The in-building DAS/small cell OEM market is heavily populated with major companies, such as Nokia, Ericsson, CommScope, SOLiD, Corning, Axell, Zinwave, JMA Wireless, ipAccess and SpiderCloud. To compete, Nextivity is entering the market with a more economical product.

Sievers said, “With the pre-existence of reasonably sophisticated in-building classes of technology, we thought there was a strong existing market need for a cost-efficient, time-efficient product.”

And then there was the shift from the carrier-funded installs of costly, sophisticated in-building wireless systems in major venues to an enterprise-funded model for middle-size enterprises.

“We wanted to build a product that would make the transition easier for the enterprise and less burdensome for the operator to redirect the cost to the enterprise,” Sievers said.