Cisco extends Ericsson partnership with WiFi package

Cisco/Ericsson: Wi-Fi traffic predicted to grow to 50% of the total IP traffic by 2020

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Looking to offer more complete network services offerings, Cisco and Ericsson have broadened their 14-month old partnership to include new wireless offerings.

Specifically, the companies will offer a new service package called Evolved Wi-Fi Networks (EWN) which will include products and support from both companies. “EWN includes pre-integrated and verified offerings based on Ericsson and Cisco products and Ericsson's customer support, design and deployment services as well as Ericsson's managed services,” the companies stated. Ericsson said EWN can be offered as a fully managed service with the global reach of more than 180 countries.

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"With Wi-Fi traffic predicted to grow to 50% of the total IP traffic by 2020, a top priority for service providers is to deliver the best possible connected experiences to their customers," said Yvette Kanouff, SVP & GM of the Service Provider Business Unit, Cisco. "Through our extended strategic partnership with Ericsson, we are committed to providing Wi–Fi solutions of the highest quality performance and reliability."

The companies went on to say that this week’s announcement will be supported by multiple agreements that include commitments to network transformation through reference architectures and joint development, systems-based management and control, a broad reseller agreement and collaboration in key emerging market segments.

“The companies have also agreed to discuss Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatorypolicies and enter a licensing agreement for their respective patent portfolios, enabling joint innovation and providing certainty for customers of both organizations. As part of this agreement, Ericsson will receive license fees from Cisco,” the companies stated.

The companies said the agreement will enable several new applications including:

  • Combining indoor Ericsson access networks with Cisco WLAN enables deployment in venues of both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.
  • Letting operators who have outdoor Ericsson access networks use Cisco WLAN to offer access to subscribers.
  • Integrating Cisco WLAN with either Ericsson macro or indoor access networks via Ericsson's Real Time Traffic Steering feature lets operators steer users between mobile and Wi-Fi access networks, ensuring the best end-user experience.
  • Integrating Cisco WLAN into Ericsson packet core using trusted configurations will allow operators to offer all their core network services over Wi-Fi for multimode devices. Ericsson's Wi-Fi Calling capabilities already deliver seamless voice mobility over Cisco WLAN.

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The expanded agreement will address a missing component in the Cisco/Ericsson partnership which the companies formed November, 2015. With that announcement Cisco and Ericsson combined their core strengths in routing, enterprise networking, wireless, data center, cloud, management and control, and global services to offer integrated systems for service providers, mobile enterprises, and Internet of Things packages. Future activities, the companies said would get backhaul, indoor/outdoor access, systems integration, managed services and tech support for enterprises. Ericsson also gets to resell Cisco products and the companies will cross-license each other’s patents, which combined number 56,000.

The partnership started with some ambitious goals – not the least of which was to generate $1 billion in revenue for each company by 2018. As for exactly how much revenue has come from the partnership – both companies say that over 60 deals have been signed – a grand total hasn’t been revealed.

The expanded deal could also help Ericsson as it struggles to battle competitors Nokia and Huawei as well as an industry decline in mobile equipment spending. A report last year by HIS Technology said that for the first time since LTE technology hit the mainstream in 2012, worldwide market for carrier wireless equipment has declined.

The decline was a sharp one, the report said – the global market for macrocell infrastructure dropped by 18% in the first quarter of 2016, down to $10 billion overall. The mobile infrastructure sector in general was down 8% in the same time frame, and LTE equipment specifically dropped by 23% on a quarterly basis.

But the companies have remained optimistic about that relationship.

“We’ve extended the partnership from its original service provider focus to now also include the enterprise and public sector segments with particular demand in transportation, Smart City, and utility areas, as well as into the web segment,” wrote Doug Webster, Vice President of Global Marketing and Corporate Communications for Cisco on the anniversary of the deal.

“Our global coverage is now complete after recently receiving regulatory approval to now operate in Brazil, and we have increased the scope of technologies being included in the partnership with the addition of security, WiFi and datacenter switching portfolios. Ericsson has also worked aggressively to extend their leading services capability by achieving more than 2,500 Cisco networking certifications or qualifications to better address the IP Transformation needs of customers worldwide.”

Webster listed several other milestones in the past year, including:

  • Extending the partnership into the enterprise and public sector segments with demand in transportation, Smart City, and utility areas, as well as into the web segment
  • Completing global coverage after receiving regulatory approval to now operate in Brazil
  • Increasing the scope of technologies being included in the partnership with the addition of security, WiFi and datacenter switching portfolios
  • Delivering Ericsson-certified solutions in different areas, as Mobile Backhaul, IP Core, and SP WiFi where certification is ongoing, with additional solutions on the way, where Cisco is contributing with products, expertise and use cases.
  • Developing a joint services portfolio based on Ericsson’s scale and skill in systems integration and managed services and Cisco’s IP competence. The portfolio is developed in the areas of Networks, Enterprise, SP WiFi and small cells, Data Center and Cloud and Security.
  • Achieving around 2,500 Cisco networking certifications or qualifications by Ericsson sales and service engineers.

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