Cisco Systems is going to try its hand at designing self-aware and self-healing mobile networks. On Wednesday Cisco revealed in its blog that it plans to buy Israeli mobile infrastructure startup Intucell for $475 million.
Intucell has developed a very impressive self-optimizing network (SON) architecture, which turns the typically static cellular network into a dynamic system of constantly expanding and shrinking cells that can follow customers as they move between them. It uses distributed network intelligence to track the network’s health and the congestion level of each cell. SON then adjusts the transmission power of each cell, creating the best configuration for both coverage and capacity. Quite literally cell towers start following you.
In the near term, SON’s self-aware, self-configuring technology could produce networks that consistently deliver faster speeds and drop fewer calls. But in the long term, SON techniques like Intucell’s will become foundational technologies for the future heterogeneous network. We’ve been following the Israeli closely for the last two years and we included Intucell in our 2012 Mobile 15 list of most innovative companies in the wireless industry.
Intucell already has a few wins to its name, but none as important as Ma Bell herself. Back in February AT&T said it would implement Intucell’s SON technology throughout its 3G and 4G networks, which surely attracted Cisco’s attention. Bessemer Venture Partners, which took a big bet on Intucell by funding its entire $6 million Series A round, obviously wins big on the deal. Bessemer, a veteran of many telecom startups, ultimately introduced Intucell to many carrier prospects, including AT&T.
On the closing of the deal in the third quarter, Intucell will become part of Cisco’s Service Provider Mobility Group, joining other Cisco blockbuster acquisitions such as Starent Networks.