Ever tried using a cellphone to make a call underwater? Even those waterproof ones can't really hack it, but there's a problem that many, many more people run into on a daily basis: not being able to make a call while indoors. We've all been in those concrete slabs where it's just impossible to get a signal out, and SpiderCloud is hoping to make our lives easier when we just can't escape the building. This week they've announced that with the support of Vodafone, it has launched its small-cell wireless system in the United Kingdom. The enhanced, indoor 3G network is now live in a number of UK-headquartered enterprises.
SpiderCloud's technology—which allows mobile operators to rapidly deliver enhanced cellular coverage and additional network capacity inside buildings, as well as the possibility to deliver "smart" applications via the cloud in the near future — was incubated inside Vodafone Group's Research and Development division over two years. As part of this process, Vodafone helped the company assess the commercial need for the solution, provided laboratory facilities and helped run both technical and field trials. SpiderCloud's small-cell system consists of two elements – the SpiderCloud Radio Node (SCRN) and the SpiderCloud Services Node (SCSN). Each SpiderCloud Radio Node is a small, wall or ceiling-mountable 3G base station. A wireless operator then installs radio nodes to provide coverage and capacity inside a building. All radio nodes in a building connect to an on-premise SpiderCloud Services Node, which securely connects to the operator's core network.
SpiderCloud's self-organizing network technology, and its use of existing Ethernet infrastructure, ensures that SpiderCloud's system can be installed in a large building within days rather than weeks or months. SpiderCloud's support for soft handover between radio nodes ensures that voice calls are not dropped as people walk within a building. Aggregating all the radio nodes at the services nodes optimizes backhaul and provides operators with a single touch-point for control and management.
It sounds a bit like femtocell magic, but we're sure hoping that it goes over well with these enterprise trials. It certainly could stand to benefit quite a few locales elsewhere in the world, too.