Ericsson thinks small for a big solution to workplace wireless

Ericsson's Radio Dot System, coming next year, uses tiny radio units as arms of a single large cell

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Enterprises may look to the Radio Dots when it comes time to replace a DAS, Ovum analyst Daryl Schoolar said. The system may also be an attractive DAS alternative because it could economically be deployed in just part of a building, rather than requiring the scale that a DAS needs, he said. But there are also other ripe opportunities for boosting indoor coverage, he said.

"It really could cover a lot of areas out there today," Schoolar said. "The prime real estate for the small cell is really going to be indoors ... because so much stuff goes on indoors."

However, the very BYOD trend that is bringing employees' own mobile devices into the workplace could make Radio Dots less attractive in some cases.

"What Ericsson is showing is a very operator specific solution, but if you have a deployment area where workers are spread out among four different mobile operators, the value of that solution is diminished," Schoolar said. "Also it locks a business into a specific operator, and that business may want more flexibility."

With a DAS, by contrast, it's typically easier to bring multiple carriers into the system, said Peter Jarich of Current Analysis. A Radio Dot System would be easier to install as an overlay, but in new construction, including a DAS is not as big a burden, Jarich said.

At least two major carriers are interested in Radio Dots. AT&T is participating with Ericsson in Wednesday's announcement, and Verizon Wireless also plans to test the system. "We have seen it, we like it and we look forward to testing and trialing it," Verizon spokesman Tom Pica said via email.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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