UK small cell developer ip.access, the company that is behind the Cisco-labelled residential femtocell distributed by AT&T, has said that it has now shipped a million of its femtocell units. It added that is shifted half a million of those in the past year.
The company said it notched up 40 small contracts in 2012 and scored five framework operator deals, including one that covered 15 country networks of "a major T1 operator". There was also a strategic partnership with "a major macro network equipment provider" who will be selling ip.access' access points, gateways and management systems. The company added that 2012 also saw it ship its first LTE small cells to trial customers.
Simon Brown, CEO, pictured) said that the company was scoring success with its end-to-end management vision, with the development of a gateway that interfaces to 2G, 3G and LTE access points crucial to that multi-technology advantage. "All our contract wins last year cover multi-technology solutions," Brown said, "and the development of our nanoConverge Gateway has been instrumental in our success."
Similar to that is the experience of helping operators co-ordinate different layers of mobile coverage, knowledge that ip.access has gained as a result of years of experience with enterprise and residential deployments. Brown said, "There are lessons to be learned from analysing and diagnosing performance and macro network interaction on a small cell layer of this magnitude that simply cannot be picked up on smaller scale deployments."
Interference management and co-ordination of mobility across different layers consistently ranks high within operators' worries about deploying a small cell layer as part of a heterogenous network. ip.access has argued for standards within the industry to support multi-layer co-ordination, so that loads can be managed between layers and so that small cells and macro layers can be managed together. That would require the macro vendors to sign up, or open up, to standards that would allow coordination between small cell elements from different vendors and their macro base stations.