Feeds

Ericsson adds Dot to the office mobe coverage map

No more hanging out in the stairwell to get a signal

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Ericsson has launched a palm-sized mobile phone base station called Dot, which camps on the office LAN to provide cellular coverage throughout your building and is managed by a radio stack in the basement.

The Dot is styled to disappear into the office décor. Weighing only 300g, it's more than an antenna but less than a femtocell as it relies on an in-building base station to process the signalling, but takes care of the radio stack itself. Certainly the design is elegant, though Ericsson's team might have overdone it with a video which would make Apple blush.

Ericsson DOT

In-building systems are currently split between distributed antenna systems, which require complex installation to haul radio signals back to a central point for processing, and Small Cell systems where each (femto)cell makes its own connection back to the mobile network.

Dot attempts to hit the middle ground with enough intelligence to backhaul over the existing office cables, taking its power from that same RJ45 connection. The Dot uses the LAN to connect to an Indoor Radio Unit, each of which can handle up to eight Dots. That unit is fibred to a single Digital Unit, which can handle 12 Indoor Radio Units and backhauls into the cellular network, over another fibre optic connection.

With the right Indoor Radio Unit the Dot can handle 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE, with Wi-Fi promised for the next version. The first version is single-frequency (MIMO, 2x2 at 100mW each) but the front part of the Dot is removable and can be replaced, or upgraded, to increase or change the frequencies supported – important in the hugely fragmented LTE market.

slide

Is your office not laid out in just this way?

Using Ethernet Cat 5, 6, or 7 for the last few metres should make installation easier, though Ericsson reckons dedicated cable will be needed rather than sharing the office infrastructure. Alcatel Lucent's LightRadio is entirely cloud-based, allowing a single rack-mounted radio to take loading from any busy cell, but it requires fibre optic all the way to the cell which has slowed deployment of the impressively-innovative approach.

The nearest thing to Ericsson's Dot is probably SpiderCloud, which offers centralised management of femtocells deployed around the office. SpiderCloud requires cells with slightly more intelligence than the Dot, as it has no equivalent to the Indoor Radio Unit, but the functionality (and use of existing cable) is similar.

Certainly SpiderCloud will be looking to its patent portfolio to see if Ericsson is stepping on any toes. Ericsson reckons it spent two years developing the Dot, and filed 14 patents of its own, so some cross-licensing is likely.

The real losers are the radio technicians, as everyone involved in developing small cell solutions keeps emphasising how any muppet can get coverage deployed and leave it to the software to sort out the details and integration with the macro network, which will be great if it's true.

We won't find that out until the tail end of next year, when the Dot starts popping up in deployments, but for network operators 18 months isn't a great deal of time – and we'll no doubt be hearing about some signed deals soon. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.