Wireless equipment manufacturer BelAir Networks has today (15 November 2011) unveiled its GigXone small cell system for mobile carriers. The system is designed to allow mobile carriers or fixed line operators wanting to offer wireless access with the ability to provide customers with a full gigabit of broadband data even in areas of high density demand.
The company says its GigXone system of multimode or Wi-Fi small cell network access and backhaul options is especially suited to extending existing broadband services into densely populated areas, which have problems with providing macro cellular coverage, capacity and/or backhaul issues. It is also designed to provide carriers with a cost effective solution to providing sufficient wireless coverage and capacity in those areas both indoors and outside.
Ronny Haraldsvik, senior VP/chief marketing officer at BelAir Networks, told Wireless: ‘Operators have to cater to mobile users, but data consumption is dramatic now and most people have no concept of how many megabites they are using if they stream a video, for example.
‘To provide a gigabite tariff to subscribers over licensed radio places tough demands on network capacity, so the more traffic operators can offload and/or integrate with unlicensed spectrum the better. Take a city like London. A carrier can’t provide the necessary cover with just a macro cell network. They need infill using small cells or femtocells to provide coverage and more capacity by using unlicensed bands.’
Haraldsvik said that mobile and cable carriers are looking for an easily scalable system suited for both indoors and outdoors with multimode small cell options that harnesses both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. He said that carriers also want Wi-Fi systems that can be easily integrated into their existing infrastructure and billing systems.
The GigXone network is designed to support several new and differentiated business models for carriers. BelAir’s system has the ability to virtualize small cells and support access up to eight different virtual local area networks (VLAN) on each small cell.
‘Building a small cell network once and leveraging it many more times is Nirvana for carriers and their investors in these CapEx strained times,’ said Haraldsvik. ‘Our virtualised access approach to small cells has opened the door for our carrier customers to engage in both retail and wholesale service delivery models where GigXone is the perfect low-cost, small cell wireless system when a big network solution is not a viable business option.’
Individual subscriber or class-based policy settings are tied to the carrier’s existing billing networks, so carriers can offer a variety of new hosted or managed services to subscribers, businesses, schools, building owners, and other service providers via shared network access.
Virtual small cells enable each SSID (service set identification) to be independently configured to connect to different carrier core networks. Security, mobility, AAA (authentication, authorization and accounting) and DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) parameters can also be set on a per SSID basis.
New business models
The BelAir GigXone system gives rise to a number of new business models including:
• Carrier managed services for small and medium businesses, retail shops, malls and building owners using Wi-Fi or multimode small cells for indoor, outdoor and campus coverage.
• Carrier managed services for businesses where each carrier customer can offer private or public wireless access for their customers, vendors and partners.
• Carrier hosted services, where small cell networks are used as shared access among customers with secure VLAN integration to the customers’ own core networks for billing/authentification, or the carrier’s core for a fully managed/hosted service.
• MNVO shared access where small cell networks are used as shared access among existing or new MNVO customers with secure VLAN integration to the customers' own core networks for billing/authentication or the carrier's core for fully managed/hosted MNVO services – extending wireless from cellular to metro gigabit class access.
• Co-location Services enabling multiple operators to share common network infrastructure.
‘Enterprises don’t want to manage Wi-Fi systems and have to deal with radio frequencies, so there is a new opportunity here for both mobile and fixed carriers, or third parties, to manage those communication services,’ said Haraldsvik.
Two new controllers and three new small cells
The GigXone physical system is comprised of Carrier Cloud and HotZone controllers and a large portfolio of GPS-enabled small form factor, multimode access points and backhaul products that can be deployed and mounted in a variety of options ranging from buildings, roofs, ceilings, walls, poles, light posts, as well as with BelAir Networks patented strand enclosures.
BelAir has unveiled two new controllers: the Carrier Cloud BelAirCC8000 controller and the BelAir HotZone Controller (BelAirHZ4000).
The BelAirCC8000 is deployed at the carrier’s location and each controller can support up to 500 small cells. With BelView, the controller-based system enables network scalability to 100,000 small cells.
The BelAirHZ4000 was developed as an in-deployment extension of the carrier’s GigXone network is a premises based controller for ad-hoc and ‘hot zone’ deployments of small cell ‘clusters’ in areas such as stadiums, business and educational campuses, convention centres, malls and other high traffic enterprise locations. The BelAirHZ4000 is also designed to manage and control clusters of small cells at one-time events and concerts.
The company has also released three small cells for indoor, outdoor, campus and stadiums: the BelAir1000 is a lower-cost small cell built for indoor deployments;
the BelAir1100 is a small form factor cell designed for outdoor coverage in stadium and campus networks; and the BelAir3200, the third generation strand-mount cable Wi-Fi product.
GigXone is powered by BelAirOS for traffic management, authentication, lawful intercept and other advanced features to give carriers the ability to conduct remote Radio Frequency engineering and management of the small cells. Other tools include the BelAirBI Business Intelligence, which collects network statistics, while BelView is a network management system (NMS) for central provisioning, location identification and updates of GPS enabled GigXone small cells.