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Small cells boast not-so-small features

Posted: 02 Mar 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:small cell? WLAN? wireless edge? WSG?

Ruckus Wireless Inc. has released what it said is the first heterogeneous small cell wireless edge system that lets operators easily incorporate wireless capacity, increase coverage and enable new edge services in their networks. The SmartCell devices also claim to ease radio access, backhaul and core infrastructure bottlenecks coming from the surge of data traffic.

The small cells combine a multiradio, multifunction access point in the SmartCell 8800, with the small cell HetNet edge services platform in the SmartCell 200 gateway. The company said the devices allow operators to enhance and extend macro networks and built as part of an end-to-end solution.

The SmartCells let mobile operators gain capacity boost from LTE small cells, cutting costs and complexity by co-locating and combining them with WiFi access points, sharing site-lease agreements and backhaul, noted Ruckus. The integration of WiFi and LTE small cells within the cellular core also helps operators optimize network utilization across the radio access network, added the company.

By combining WiFi, cellular and backhaul within a single, small form factor device, the SmartCell 8800 is targeted for rapid deployment in dense urban areas where flexible power, mounting and backhaul options are crucial to realizing network coverage objectives, the company indicated.

SmartCell 8800

The SmartCell 8800 combines multiradio, multifunction access point.

The Ruckus SmartCell integrates seamlessly with existing mobile operator 3GPP and LTE macro infrastructures with no disruption using standard 3G and 4G core interfaces. Regardless of the access method (cellular or WiFi) the SmartCell 200 gateway makes full use of existing core systems such as authentication, billing and service provisioning interfaces to deliver a radio access-agnostic and -transparent experience for subscribers.

The system uses advanced self-organizing network (SON) principles to create resilient, high-speed WiFi mesh backbone links between small cells. Proven in large-scale carrier deployments, Ruckus Smart Mesh technology offers a cost-effective, reliable and flexible alternative to conventional approaches.

Adaptive directional antennas (BeamFlex) and predictive channel management (ChannelFly) combined with Smart Mesh deliver reliable backhaul for licensed cellular and unlicensed WiFi traffic in both line of sight and non-line of site environments, detailed Ruckus.

Current I-WLAN integration requires client handsets to support technologies such as IPSec and IKEv2 for authentication. To simplify the authentication experience, the Ruckus SmartCell system uses a clientless approach using EAP methods with IEEE 802.1x port-based authentication. This eliminates installing any software on client devices. Clients simply connect to the wireless network using the preferred EAP method with underlying secure AES encryption. The network then handles the 802.1x authentication process and integrates into the mobile packet core in a secure and manageable manner.

The Ruckus SmartCell system makes use of the new 802.11u protocol within the WiFi alliance HotSpot 2.0 framework. With it, subscribers no longer must manually select WiFi networks and enter security keys and credentials. The 802.11u-capable devices query the network before authentication to determine the security method (e.g., EAP type), the credential type to use and if the WiFi service is run by one of the operator's roaming partners.

SmartCell 200: Wireless Edge Services Platform
Formerly known as the Ruckus Wireless Service Gateway (WSG), the SmartCell 200 is a highly integrated solution offering a collection of functions that transform the WSG into the first multifunction HetNet small cell gateway. This gives operators quicker, easier and more flexible deployment models that are much more economical relative to competitive solutions which require many different devices. In addition, the SmartCell topology allows operators to linearly scale their core capacity with growth, adding more SmartCell 200s to their network as client traffic rises and the network expands.

The SmartCell 200 internally developed capabilities as well as technologies from IntelliNet and ComAbility. IntelliNet delivers I-WLAN-based PDG/TTG, femtocell gateway, as well as standard interfaces into the mobile core. ComAbility enables Ruckus to integrate subscriber and policy management and other carrier business services.

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