Cisco introduced one of the industry’s first carrier-grade, end-to-end Wi-Fi infrastructure to use Next-Generation Hotspots (NGH) technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. And Ruckus Wireless also jumped into the heterogeneous small cell network fray.
Cisco’s intelligent small cell uses Wireless Broadband Alliance-approved NGH technology, which is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 standard and enables cellular-like roaming for Wi-Fi networks.
The majority of Cisco’s 12 million deployed access points can be upgraded to support NGH.
The small-cell gateway makes heterogeneous networks a reality by enabling operators to manage subscriber and service information while integrating 2G/3G/4G LTE and femtocell (licensed) networks with Wi-Fi (unlicensed) networks.
“We are now entering the post-macrocell era, where small cells also will play a critical role in delivering the next-generation mobile Internet,” said John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO. “Existing mobile network infrastructures simply cannot sustain the growth we’re seeing on their own. Tomorrow’s mobile Internet must span multiple networks and deliver seamless and highly secure mobile experiences.”
Small Cells Making a Ruckus
Ruckus Wireless also chose Barcelona to announce the development of its first heterogeneous small cell wireless edge system, known as SmartCell, which combines Wi-Fi access points and LTE small cells.
The SmartCell combines a multi-radio, multi-function access point, the SmartCell 8800, with a small cell HetNet edge services platform, the SmartCell 200 gateway. The LTE small cells provide a capacity boost, while collocating and combining them with Wi-Fi access points cuts costs, reduces the complexity of the system and facilitates backhaul.
“Operators will optimize network utilization across the radio access network, providing a further improvement in performance, and creating a seamless experience for their subscribers,” according to the company. “Ruckus SmartCell uses self-organizing network principles to create high-speed Wi-Fi mesh backbone links between small cells.”