Cisco Tuesday introduced small cell hardware and intelligent software to help carriers and enterprises manage hybrid networks using both cellular and Wi-Fi.
The intelligent software, called Cisco Quantum manages the new hardware, which includes a 3G small cell module that can be plugged into Cisco Aironet Wi-Fi access points to integrate Wi-Fi and 3G cellular. Cisco also unveiled a standalone version of the module, which is about the size of half of a shoebox, officials said.
A new ASR 901-S router, about the size of a pizza box, provides outdoor wireless connectivity on light poles and bus stops. It connects fiber and copper backhaul to cellular and Wi-Fi from end users.
Kit Beall, Cisco area vice president for service provider mobility, estimated that both AT&T and Verizon Wireless already have about 100,000 mega-cells on conventional cell towers in the U.S., and expect to deploy 1 million small cells in coming years to expand wireless coverage and speed.
Cisco Quantum software will help make all connections across hybrid wireless networks, so that Wi-Fi networks can communicate with 3G and 4G networks, said Shailesh Shukla, Cisco’s general manager of software for service provider mobility.
“The world is evolving to combine 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and small cell. To manage the radio pieces across all four requires intelligence,” said Shukla.
Much of Quantum software was built in-house but also depends on software from the acquisitions of Intucell, BroadHop and other smaller companies. The software will also include technology from Cariden Technologies, which Cisco has agreed to buy.
Cisco says it “stitches together” their number one market position in Wi-Fi instrastructure, mobile backhaul and other networking areas.