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Cisco acquires Ubiquisys

Ajit Deshpande - - 0 Comments

It has been less than six years since the launch of the iPhone, and smartphones have already become ubiquitous. Combine that with FCC regulations around spectrum allocation, and the outcome is a potential ‘mobile data crunch’, unless Carriers and/or Enterprises adopt mitigating solutions such as Wi-Fi offload, small cell infrastructure deployment, traffic shaping, etc. Last week, Cisco underscored the need for such solutions by announcing its intent to buy United Kingdom-based small cell technology player Ubiquisys for $310 million. Ubiquisys develops stand-alone femtocells primarily focused on deployments by mobile operators for residential and small business customers.

Ubiquisys makes for an interesting addition to Cisco’s cloud-managed enterprise stack, bolstered recently through the company’s acquisition of Meraki. Ubiquisys’ core-network based small cell architecture should lend itself well especially to Meraki’s target segment of small and medium sized enterprises. When it comes to medium to large enterprise customers, the issues of scale, inter-cell interference, soft handoff and integration with cloud and applications require a more scalable small cell system. SpiderCloud Wireless, an Opus Capital portfolio company, has been focused on scalable small cells since it was founded in 2007. Taking an analogy from the Wi-Fi world, SpiderCloud’s Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) architecture does for licensed spectrum 3G/4G in-building what Aruba did for Wi-Fi.  You simply would not deploy a Linksys where you need an Aruba system nor would an operator deploy Cisco/Ubiquisys where a scalable SpiderCloud Wireless multi-access small cell system is required. Eventually, monetization potential might be greater in the large enterprise segment, so it will be interesting to see how Cisco positions the Ubiquisys product going forward.

What happens competitively in the long run aside, for now Cisco’s acquisition should set the ball rolling towards accelerated small cell technology adoption. As for the enterprise end-user, the smartphone makes him/her more productive as long as data can be accessed, so here’s hoping this so-called mobile data crunch never occurs!

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