HomeInsightsBelair launches dual radio picocell

    Belair launches dual radio picocell


    Product to bring cable and mobile operators closer together

    Mobile operators are being offered a new way of building out networks with the launch of a combined cell site/ WiFi access point from BelAir Networks.

    The idea of BelAir’s 100SP Strand Picocell is that it will sit on the end of cable network infrastructure, allowing operators to take advantage of cable plant’s power and locations.
    BelAir says that the unit can sit on overhead cable, or on residential pedestals, or in cabinets. It can use  AC power from the cable plant and use the cable network for backhaul.

    Dave Park, VP, Product Marketing, BelAir Networks, said this solves the three problems mobile operators have in cell site planning – site availability, power and backhaul.

    Because the cells offer radios covering both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, they could be deployed by mobile operators to offer cell site coverage, but also be used to offload traffic from wireless networks directly over the cable network. The WiFi side of the unit would also enable cable operators to offer wireless access to their own subscribers.

    Park said the units also include a policy “engine” that can communicate with an operators’ central policy control systems – to enable operators to be able to steer traffic either back into the core network or directly out over the internet.

    “The difference we bring with this solution is that it enables a symbiotic relationship between mobile operators and the cable operators,” Park said. “It expands on the backhaul relationships we see today, which are more about leasing capacity. This is about a box that is an inherent part of the mobile and cable operators’ networks,” he said.

    Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Mobile and FMC Infrastructure, Infonetics Research, said,  “For mobile carriers looking at smaller cells as a way to augment their 3G and LTE networks, the BelAir100SP offers a very innovative approach to deploying and operating a small cell architecture within a traditional macrocell environment.”

    Research firm, In-Stat, forecasts that the demand for small cell architectures will result in a 378% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in carrier-installed metropolitan picocell unit shipments worldwide between 2009 and 2014. Allen Nogee, Principal Analyst for the Wireless Component Technology Service at In-Stat, said, “Metropolitan picocells, like the BelAir100SP, are excellent in dense areas where there are many closely-spaced subscribers.  Wireless operators will use metropolitan picocells because this type of solution fits the rollout of 4G services very well while being relatively inexpensive, so we’ve forecast the worldwide metropolitan picocell equipment market to be worth more than $5 Billion by 2014.”

    According to their report, “US Mobile Wireless Backhaul 2011”, Visant Strategies estimates that cable operator share of the mobile wireless backhaul market will grow by more than five-fold by 2016, topping $3 Billion in annual service revenues by 2015.