Wi-Fi specialist Ruckus Wireless has announced its intention to address the challenge of in-building cellular coverage and capacity through the introduction of OpenG technology. OpenG technology combines coordinated shared spectrum, such as 3.5 GHz in the US, with neutral host-capable small cells to enable cost-effective, ubiquitous in-building cellular coverage.
Ruckus plans to drive the adoption of OpenG technology—which addresses a global market with an annual TAM of over $2 billion—by leveraging its extensive enterprise channels, service provider, public venue and enterprise customer base, and its portfolio of differentiated technologies. Ruckus plans to unveil specific products and offerings throughout 2016.
Ruckus demonstrated OpenG technology in collaboration with Qualcomm during Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 in Barcelona last week (22-25 February 2016). Ruckus also demonstrated its Wi-Fi calling solution during the show which, in combination with OpenG technology, showcased the future of the all-wireless enterprise.
Ruckus argues the industry is in the midst of a dramatic shift as cellular and Wi-Fi technologies converge through a number of technical and standards developments, including license assisted access (LAA), LTE Wi-Fi link aggregation (LWA), Hotspot 2.0 and Wi-Fi calling. This is driven by spectrum pressures, 5 GHz support on devices becoming ubiquitous and agnostic over-the-top (OTT) applications enabled by a common IP foundation.
In addition, new spectrum sharing options outside of the traditional licensed and unlicensed models are emerging, exemplified by the new coordinated shared spectrum 3.5 GHz model adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US. Ultimately, Ruckus says, the biggest driver is the need to ensure consistent coverage and quality-of-experience for mobile users regardless of the underlying wireless technology.
While enterprises have largely adopted Wi-Fi for in-building wireless data connectivity, they also need to provide employees and visitors ubiquitous cellular coverage for voice, e-911 and LTE-data. The widespread outside-in approach to in-building cellular connectivity is increasingly challenged by new building materials that weaken wireless signals, undependable macro reach to high floors, and spotty connectivity due to street-level shadowing.
Enterprises and service providers are seeking in-building cellular solutions that are easy to deploy and provide an attractive total cost of ownership (TCO) while improving coverage and performance.
Furthermore, enterprises need a simple solution that can support subscribers of different mobile networks. While distributed antenna systems (DAS) and traditional small cells can address some of these issues, their economics and deployment complexity limit their application, Ruckus argues.
Ruckus’ OpenG technology offers a significantly less expensive, easier-to-deploy, mobile network-neutral alternative. Ruckus believes OpenG technology will be ideal for fixed and mobile service providers to offer managed services to businesses while improving their customers’ cellular service experience everywhere, even deep inside buildings where mobile operators previously were unable to reach due to access and economics.
According to Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts, enterprises and service providers are looking for lower cost alternatives to solve the in-building cellular challenge. “In multiple surveys, we have found that people are hungry for neutral-host solutions, but they are finicky eaters.
“Multi-operator radio access networks (MORANs) and multi-operator core networks (MOCN) are not preferred by many mobile operators, due to concerns about impact in their existing radio access networks (RANs).
“Solutions in the 3.5 GHz band that are truly neutral are now creating interesting new possibilities. We see exciting opportunities for companies like Ruckus, with a large installed base of enterprise customers.”
“Ruckus is particularly well-positioned to offer enterprises and service providers the solution to in-building cellular challenges because we make it possible to deploy as easily as Wi-Fi,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, chief operating officer, Ruckus Wireless. “We believe Ruckus OpenG technology will provide a disruptive TCO scenario, making it ripe for adoption on a global scale at a fraction of the cost of DAS.”