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Indoor small cells will support multiple LTE bands, IoT

Enterprises will soon be able to deploy small cells that can be configured for any of the major U.S. LTE bands, and/or for the internet of things. SpiderCloud Wireless is shipping an enterprise-grade LTE small cell that can be software configured to support LTE bands 2, 25, 4, 66, 12 or 13. Channel widths can be as wide as 20 or as narrow as 5, so the cells can be configured to support more than one band from a single operator.

So far, Verizon is the only operator to deploy the SpiderCloud solution in the United States. The company’s small cells are also approved for T-Mobile’s U.S. network. SpiderCloud is hoping that its new solution will be purchased directly by enterprise customers, working in partnership with a wireless service provider.

Art King, director of enterprise at SpiderCloud Wireless, said the Category M1 and NB-IoT protocols can be added to the small cells via a firmware update, so that customers can support future IoT deployments. King said the addition of the IoT protocols was a response to customer requests.

“You can add a single Cat M1 radio or a radio that supports NB-IoT and you can cover the whole building because the same amount of transport power over a much narrower bandwidth gives you a lot more reach within the building,” King said. “You don’t need to do IoT radios across the whole building.”

The SpiderCloud small cells connect to a services node that can control up to 100 small cells. The system can provide coverage for buildings of up to 1.5 million square feet.

SpiderCloud is also shipping a small cell system that supports LTE in unlicensed spectrum by integrating Qualcomm’s LTE-U platform. King said he expects a mixed reaction from enterprise customers.

“There are probably going to be enterprises that will go for it and enterprises that won’t,” he said. “There are those that don’t want anything messing with their Wi-Fi. … The thing that we’ve always been mindful of is that it may be unlicensed spectrum, but the IT person thinks it’s all licensed to them.”

King added that when a trusted Wi-Fi provider like Cisco or Aruba blesses an LTE-U solution for the enterprise, IT managers tend to be more comfortable with it.

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