Vodafone and Mavenir to make indoor small cells for offices
Vodafone and Mavenir said today they are working on a small cell solution based on open RAN technology, to provide indoor 4G connectivity for business customers.
A year ago, Vodafone deployed the first open RAN site to carry live traffic in the UK, at a rural location in mid-Wales. Vodafone later said it would install a further 2,600 open RAN base stations. Vodafone and Mavenir said they will continue this partnership to deploy more open RAN sites in the future.
Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK chief network officer, said: “So far, open RAN deployment has focused on outdoor connectivity, but there is significant potential for this technology in the office environment.”
He said Vodafone and Mavenir are working on “a simple plug-and-play product” for indoor operation.
This “includes all the attractive benefits of the open RAN philosophy, … that can build on our strength of providing indoor coverage through both our macro network and our bespoke solutions”.
Vodafone said the equipment will be designed for business customers in medium to large office spaces. “The solution will provide 4G coverage initially,” said the operator, a comment that can be taken as a hint that 5G will follow.
The open virtual RAN (Open vRAN) software will be provided by Mavenir, while Sercomm will provide the radio hardware, said Vodafone. “The design and flexibility of the small cell solution means it will be interoperable with other open RAN compliant vendors,” the company added.
Mavenir’s senior VP for EMEA, Virtyt Koshi, said the equipment will be developed at Vodafone’s Newbury open RAN test and verification lab.