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Cost can be of critical concern with small cell deployments: manufacturing costs, deployment costs, and the cost of restoring service if a fault occurs. The main goal of the Cisco Small Cell Solution is to keep these costs low, and to provide a solution that is ready-to-use for the end user. To achieve this goal, the access point must be programmed with key data consisting of the network credentials that allow the access point to connect, authenticate itself, and then start the process of provisioning. The credentials include the address of the operator’s secure gateways and small cell management server, the gateway authentication certificates, and the management system login parameters. This information must be securely installed into the access point so that it can’t be tampered with. This level of security allows authorized access points to connect and start the provisioning process while rendering unauthorized access points inoperable with an operator’s networks.
Configuration of the access points with the network credentials is performed when you install the Cisco Small Cell Solution using the innovative Cisco USC CloudBase software. This software gives you greater flexibility in network design by allowing you to change the credentials at any time, rather than having to define them at manufacture. This software thereby overcomes the logistical problems of having to synchronize network changes with the delivery of small cells through the supply chain. For changes subsequent to first installation, Cisco USC CloudBase software additionally allows you to update the access points in the field. Table 1 summarizes the key functions and benefits provided by Cisco USC CloudBase technology.