Monday, February 20, 2012

Ericsson's Acquisition of BelAir Adds Carrier Wi-Fi Solutions

Ericsson agreed to acquire privately-held BelAir Networks, a supplier of carrier-grade Wi-Fi solutions, for an undisclosed sum.

BelAir Networks, which is based in Ottawa, Ontario, supplies indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi systems that enable service providers to build scalable, high performance Wi-Fi networks. The company develops mobile networking solutions that are deployed by service providers including AT&T and Comcast.

Ericsson said the deal will accelerate carrier integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies. The acquisition will be part of Ericsson's heterogeneous network (hetnet) strategy to improve the mobile broadband experience by managing the co-existence of mobile technologies and Wi-Fi.

"Ericsson will lead the way in the growing converged Wi-Fi and cellular market where improved end-user experience is the driving force. By integrating BelAir Networks' market-leading products and competence into Ericsson's existing radio portfolio, we will be able to do this more quickly. We welcome 120 highly skilled people into the company," said Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson.

  • In October 2011, BelAir Networks introduced a compact LTE+3G+Wi-Fi Metrocell featured integrated wireless backhaul and designed for massive, city-wide, small cell deployments.

    The new BelAir2100 LTE/3G/Wi-Fi Metrocell, which builds on the company's existing portfolio of Carrier Wi-Fi solutions, supports multiple licensed bands, Carrier Wi-Fi access and a range of integrated wireless and wireline backhaul options in a small, robust and easy to install base station. The company is aiming the product at metropolitan in-fill coverage. BelAir said its design mitigates interference and enables full RF interoperability between the licensed band and Wi-Fi access radios.

    Significantly, the unit will offer a bladed approach for 3G/LTE radio access. This will allow a carrier to use small cell radio modules compatible with their macro RAN infrastructure and perhaps even from the same vendors as their macro gear. The Wi-Fi capabilities could be used for offload from the cellular network or be configured for backhaul in a resilient mesh or point-to-point links. A series of units could be deployed in adjoining and intermeshed small cells requiring only electrical power.

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