Attention carriers, free the indoor LTE indoor small cells so that they can be deployed with iDAS! This is specifically for the enterprise and building coverage, since you already freed the small femto cells. You are the ones holding the industry back, not the other way around. You say you don’t want to pay for iDAS, but how can anyone else when you control the small cell? Small Cells can be deployed for home office, let’s free them up for the enterprise! Why? Let me tell you why.
The carriers say they don’t want to pay for indoor DAS but indoor small cells are part of that system, aren’t they? The carriers control the release of larger small cells, well any eNodeB for that matter. The VARs, (Value Added Resellers) want to sell and install these systems for large enterprise but they need to work through the carriers, maybe even to purchase the equipment from the carriers. If carriers want to save on these costs, then set up a system to approve the small cells and low power BTS for DAS systems so you can hand it off to someone who can sell it to the building or business owner. Again, I mean that the indoor small cells are so controlled by the carriers that they can’t be deployed by anyone else. It’s like a small cell hell!
Who agrees with this? I listened to the RCR interview that Sean Kinney did with Jonathon Adelstein, the CEO of PCIA, and he appears to feel the same way. He thinks that the carriers should not be held responsible for a utility like broadband. He was actually talking about DAS, specifically iDAS, but he has to know that small cells are part of the new DAS systems, right? This guy of all people should understand this. Digital DAS, LTE DAS, get it? Small cells play a part. So it appears that PCIA is all in, but the carriers want the installs to be paid for by others and yet they won’t let go of the control! Well, which is it? It’s going to be hard for you to hand off the DAS without the indoor small cell. Get your head out of your butt and wake up! Make the change today! This is LTE; analog BDAs are not going to cut it anymore!
Let’s build a better model like the femto cell, for instance, homes and small offices are able to have anyone install the femto cell. Let me explain this model. You may have heard that T-Mobile is handing the CellSpot femto cell out to customers for free. This will help build a coverage model similar to what Comcast did with Xfinity Wi-Fi, hand out hotspots, (Cable modem or femto cell), and put your default ESSID on a Wi-Fi hotspot and then all of you customers can use it. It is a complete plug and play device, one that most carriers offer home users at some point, even with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi calling may change this, but T-Mobile made it sexy and smart. They get expanded coverage for the price of a box and shipping.
I believe that SpiderCloud is building this model for their small cells. They know that the carrier does not want to deploy indoor small cells everywhere, but the carriers have to build a better process. So why not do this for all businesses that want iDAS and indoor small cells? Let a contractor handle it! An approved contractor (of course) installing an approved unit.
As for carriers, I believe that T-Mobile is handing out the femto cells, but not anything larger. I think AT&T was going to set up something that would have them hand them, (sell them) to end users that wanted to install them. I didn’t hear of anything like this from Verizon. I know that the technology is catching up but I think that if they would allow the approved contractor to buy them, preferable from the OEM to save money unless the carrier would be able to get them really cheap, the contractor could do the rest. Building out the network for the carrier.
How should carriers do it? Build a process where the vendor gets certified by the OEM and the carrier. Then the carriers will vette the vendor for being a real business and take a look at their safety programs. Then let the vendor sell to the enterprise and landlords! It’s that simple carriers, get out-of-the-way. Don’t worry about the vendor making you look bad because I know you can set up a feedback system so that the end customer can grade the vendor. Help them improve or boot them out. Build the process today.
Now, on the network and equipment side, you need to do several things. You need 1) Plug and Play, 2) an auto-config neighbor list, 3) power control, 4) get certified VARs to call the integration center, and 5) monitor PCMD data. Then you can let the VAR build your system and improve your coverage! Am I making any sense yet?
Readers, I know that many of you are blaming the OEM, right? But the reality is that the carriers have a firm grip on the small cell since it connects to the network.
Free the small cells to the vendors and let the network grow organically. Increase the pipe with little or no expense! Put the growth on auto pilot for heaven’s sake!
In case you wonder why carriers control deployments, look at the reasons below:
- Approvals: The OEM has a lot of work with the carrier prior to even being allowed on the network. You see, to get on the carrier’s network you need to put all small cells through lab tests, minimum 3 months, to make sure they are certified and won’t take down a site, cluster or harm the network. Anyone who is working on the OEM side of small cells understands that this takes a lot of time, energy, money, and lab support. It doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, if it happens in 3 months you’re doing incredibly well.
- Integration: Another thing is the current commissioning and integration of a cell onto the network. It usually needs to be planned. It is still not automated except small femto cells used for home and SOHO, (Small Office Home Office). The reason being is the core. You have several locations that the cell could connect with, and it may be different for each region. There is not an easy way for it to locate the core that it should be talking to. So they either preconfigure the cell or they do it on site. This seems to be tedious but in my opinion, the process should be automated.
- Optimization: Finally, the ever so important neighbor list. This is the list of neighboring sites that the cell could interfere with and hand off. They want a clean handoff, no drops. Also, you don’t want self interference; you want a good cluster frequency plan. Don’t forget the power setting has to be just right. All key factors in the optimization phase of deployment. An optimized network is a happy network. Happy networks mean happy customers.
Maybe Wi-Fi and LTE-U calling will change this. With the license free options you can already get internet access and make a voice call over Wi-Fi. Comcast has a serious Wi-Fi network that people could use If only Comcast would create a better core for voice, VOIP, or VoWi-Fi, so that they can complete voice calls. It looks like they are working towards this from what I have read, but who knows. They recently announced the deal with Verizon so maybe they will move ahead with a real heterogeneous network.
Q with A&A – (Questions with actions and answers)
- Q) Are small cells plug and play? A&A – They should be! Femto cells usually are, so all indoor cells should be, get on that today! Tell the OEMs that it is a requirement.
- Q) Do I have to preconfigure the cell ahead of time? A&A – Get the OEM or a vendor to set up a system where it will be ready to be put on the network. It could be through your office or the OEM or let the VAR do it! One of them could load a configuration file so that when the installer gets it all they need to do is power up and connect to the internet or some type of backhaul.
- Q) What if it interferes with a neighbor? A&A – Monitor the site when it goes in and catch the PCMD data from the units in the building to update the cell. This is work, but chances are you’re already doing this or you have a SON server doing this. This should be automated.
- Q) What if power needs adjusted? A&A – See above, monitor, adjust, done.
- Q) What if the carrier feels they need to install the small cell? Action – Don’t do it! The OEMs are
already training people so just verify certifications. Get out-of-the-way!
- Q) Who will configure the radio? A&A – Build basic configuration files. Could be the VAR or it could come preconfigured.
- Q) Who will certify the installers? A&A – Let the OEMs manage the certifications! They are doing it today. Carriers need to verify that the VAR is certified to commission the small cell. Again, they need to be trained by the OEM. There should be a certification for installation and commissioning.
- Q) Do carriers have to stock the small cells and spend the extra expense tracking and shipping? A&A – Don’t do any of it except create the process! Let a warehouse, distributor, OEM, or the VAR do it. If you want complete control then manage and warehouse everything, but the reality is that you should work a deal with a distributor, VAR, or OEM to stock them, prep them, and install them. All the VAR should need to do is call you to verify configuration and date of install. Let each group do what they are good at.
- Q) What if it’s a large iDAS system? A&A – Don’t get involved unless it’s a high-profile venue! Let someone else do all the work. They should be buying all the equipment to make your coverage better.
- Q) What will the cost to the carrier be? A&A – Let the VAR’s buy direct. If you do this right you should only pay someone, a PM, to manage the process. The business, building or venue owner will pay for the installation and the small cell just like you want them to do for DAS. You need to define the process and approve the vendors. Get out of your own way!
- Q) Where will we find these VARs? A&A – They will come to you if you have a contact or group they can talk to! Seriously, this business will boom because a ton of companies want to do small cells and iDAS, just make someone available to them. Set up the process to get contractors approved. Get the contractor vetted and move on to the next one. Seriously, why make more work for yourself? If they screw it up, then deal with it or throw them out of your system.
- Q) What if the enterprise or venue calls the carrier? A&A – refer them to the nearest 1 or 5 VARs. Build a database of VARs by region. Let the customer run the RFP or bidding process. Let the VAR fight for the work.
- Q) How do we let the VAR know what band to install? A&A – Create a process where they can either access a website or let them call the regional team for information. I like the website because it is automated with little human interaction.
I would recommend having the carriers approve indoor small cells and then letting VARs deploy them as part of the iDAS and indoor small cell systems. For indoors, the carriers don’t want to pay for the installation unless they have a large payback but a VAR will do it for the cost of the installation. Hopefully the business will pay for.
The carriers, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint need to go to the next level for indoor deployments. In this case I would recommend letting the VAR do the installation for enterprise and for business. Let the VAR work with the end-user for installation of the indoor small cell just like they would the iDAS systems. Honestly, what are they waiting for?
They just need to approve it for their system then the PnP, plug and play, should do the rest. Make the investment in a decent SON system and then hand it off to the VARs! Let them sell it to the businesses and enterprises! Let them improve coverage at the request of the end use, not at the carrier’s cost. Get out of your own way! Don’t forget to automate the system!
I think that this is what the carriers want. They can control their end of it with the testing, the labs, and the approvals. They can then hand it off to the VAR to sell it and install it to improve coverage. Just like everyone wants to do with Wi-Fi. Comcast figured it out. T-Mobile is giving the femto cells to the end-user. Let’s create a system that works with this business model.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be a learning curve. If you don’t have a clean way to do this now then get busy! You should have done this already! Automate, integrate, and then grow!
Carriers say they don’t want t pay for iDAS, what about indoor small cells. Here is an opportunity to let go.
If you are a vendor, a VAR, an installer, here is a golden opportunity for you to get in on a booming market. Coverage is the name of the game! Maybe LTE-U will take off, I know that Verizon has plans to deploy in 2016, or so they say, but wait and see.
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