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Cisco pitches small cells into BYOD-heavy enterprises

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

With the acquisition of UK small-cell outfit Ubiquisys completed last month, The Borg's next step is to line up the channel, and to that end, it's announced a partner program to help carriers convince companies they need indoor 3G/4G cells on their campuses.

The Cisco Small Cell Enterprise Select program is designed to pitch a bunch of products into enterprise networks, based on their ability to connect to infrastructure companies already have in place to serve their WiFi networks.

Power and backhaul for the small cells are provided by boxes like the Cisco USC 7000, with modular plug-ins for the Aironet 3600 or Cisco 3700 WiFi access points. With the 3G or 4G small cell in place, it then runs traffic over the existing enterprise network back to the mobile carrier.

That carrier, Cisco hopes, will already be a customer, using its “Cisco USC CloudBase software, allowing for zero-touch provisioning and assured-service delivery”.

The point is to get into the “mobile offload” business that Cisco – and many others – believe is going to be a Big Thing in the near future.

The attraction for the carrier is that if it can infiltrate business campuses with mobile base stations, it gets to keep punters' smartphones and tablets on-network rather than lose them to the enterprise WiFi. Meanwhile, the theory goes, an enterprise whose WiFi network is getting hammered by BYOD will get relief, because those devices will have a decent cellular indoors signal to use.

Cisco's announcement is here. ®

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