Rising star is femto-sized
A Swindon-based wireless technology firm is building a global reputation for itself built around small cell mobile phone basestations.
The growing success of Ubiquisys, which develops 3G and 4G LTE small cells and fgentocell basestations, has attracted a further $19m in investment funding.
Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys plans to invest the cash in the firm’s latest range of tri-mode 3G/LTE/Wi-Fi Public Small Cell Hotspots.
“Public access small cells require extremely high performance, resilience and fully automatic, adaptive capabilities,” said Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys, “we remain uniquely placed to benefit from the ongoing exceptional growth in the small cell market and welcome this investment to help us meet this demand.”
Ranked No.1 by ABI Research in its Indoor Small Cells Vendor Matrix 2012, Ubiquisys is building on its leadership position in residential and enterprise femtocells, where its adaptive radio technology been adopted by more than 70 operators.
It has also shipped 50,000 public small cells for use by operators such as Softbank (Japan), Network Norway and SFR (France).
Ubiquisys is riding the wave of 4G mobile network deployment as operators battle to support spiralling mobile data consumption.
Along with the addition of new spectrum and LTE network rollout, operators are using small cell deployments in public spaces, incorporating combinations of 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi, as a low cost way to boost data capacity in specific areas.
The Femto Forum, the independent industry group supporting femtocell deployment, pointed to the a strong uptake of its small cell LTE application platform interfaces (APIs) as an indication of the healthy prospects for femtocells.
The APIs address three fundamental functions: Physical Layer control (to generate LTE radio signals), scheduling (to accurately assign packets to frequency and time slots) and network monitoring (to minimise interference with the macro network and optimise femtocell coverage).
This rapid adoption is being driven by widespread LTE small cell commitments from operators around the world including China Mobile, Vodafone, SK Telecom and NTT DoCoMo.
Ubiquisys is also working with Texas Instruments to develop ‘small cells’ – defined as basestations with an output of under 5W – which can address LTE.
Small cells are installed in public spaces and outdoors to provide complementary data capacity in the network, routed via the internet to a femtocell gateway in an operator’s core network.
Ubiquisys’ small cells use femtocell software, which provides self-configuration, self-organising-networks, and adaptive behaviour – increasing the density of capacity deployment with low operating costs.
Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ubiquisys demonstrated a small cell basestation which uses Intel processor technology to dramatically increase the processing power and storage when deployed in LTE networks.
With small cell basestations expected to be used in 4G LTE deployments whic also support 3G and Wi-Fi, Ubiquisys is engaging with 3rd party application developers such as Intrinsyc and Edge Datacoms to release the first applications for smart cells.
These include backhaul optimisation, the real-time optimisation of video content and real-time virus checking.
“Smart cells are a sophisticated combination of small cell base stations and powerful computing platforms that deliver more than the sum of their parts,” said Gilbert.
“We’re now reaping the rewards of our strategic agreement with Intel to enable commercial products that bring the IP communications cloud closer to mobile users and machines,” said Gilbert.
Ubiquisys is not the only UK-based femtocell firm, there is also Cambridge-based ip.access and Bristol-based Picochip was bought by Mindspeed in January.
So the UK’s latest technology rising star is happy to be femto-sized.