Buzz from Small Cell Summit

By Caroline Chan, Intel

I recent attended a fairly eventful Small Cell Summit in London. This is our third year of participation in the largest small cell ecosystem gathering in the industry. However, this is our first year presenting our new small cell system on a chip (SoC) portfolio, enabled in part through our acquisition of Mindspeed. So you can say that we are now a full service small cell silicon vendor, from baseband SoC to intelligent services on the small cell. This uniquely differentiates our offering, as showcased in the three demos we presented: dual mode (WCDMA + FDD LTE) modem; smart small cell based on the Rangeley reference design board, SpiderCloud service node running caching, video analytics, and McAfee IPS software; and a secured small cell gateway from Clavister. Dan Rodriguez, the product marketing director for wireless infrastructure at Intel, gave a well-received keynote on NFV transformation of wireless access, and we had more than 20 meetings in two days. This all adds up to considerable buzz around small cell and Intel's role within the industry.

Couple of key take-aways from the conference and meetings with operators, OEMs and ecosystem vendors:

  • Small cell ramp up is below expectation primarily due to difficulties in deployment, and the relatively immature small cell ecosystem. We are working hard to address these issues by making our small cell platform easier to integrate and launch.
  • NFV has already made an impact to small cell products – Airvana announced OneCell platform in which they make use of Cloud RAN concept to enable large mobile enterprise small cell deployment. Clearly our progress in C-RAN  has been noted by our friends and competitors.
  • Small Cell Forum announced the kickoff of a work item to study virtualized small cells, championed by Cisco, Intel, and Alcatel-Lucent.
  • Edge Cloud is gaining traction – our Rangeley reference platforms had been welcomed by attendees. We had several productive discussions with credible software developers especially in mobile enterprise spaces, although more needs to be done to promote a healthy and vibrant Edge Cloud application pipeline.

Enough from me, let’s hear what Intel's Uri Elzur, our SDN System Architecture Director, has to say about this show. Also of interest are Telecom TV interviews about this topic with the CTO of Telefonica UK and the CMO of SpiderCloud Wireless.