Universal Small Cell Solution

Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway Data Sheet

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Mobile subscribers are accessing the network at home, work, hotspots, and everywhere in between. Mobile operators globally are adopting a coverage and capacity strategy that uses both licensed and unlicensed small cells to meet this growing demand, particularly indoors where 80 percent of traffic occurs. Indoor small cells also provide new service opportunities based on their rich location and context information.

The Cisco® ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway is an integral element in both the Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution and the Cisco Licensed Small Cell Solution (Figure 1). The Cisco Small Cell Gateway gives subscribers easy access as they transparently roam between third and fourth generation (3G/4G) macro, small cell and Wi-Fi networks.

Figure 1.      Cisco Small Cell Solution

The Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway (Figure 2) provides:

   Exceptional levels of security

   Seamless mobility between network types, including 3G/4G macro and small cells and Wi-Fi

   Market-leading IP Security/Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IPsec/IKEv2) tunnel performance

   Integration of multiple network functions into a single platform for the lowest possible total cost of ownership

   A single platform for common services across Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G Packet Core and Small Cells

   Voice-grade reliability

   Smooth upgrade to 4G

Deployed on the Cisco ASR 5000 multimedia core platform, the Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway supports multiple standards-based functions including:

   Standalone 3G and 4G licensed small cells (for residential and small and medium-sized businesses)

   Indoor Wi-Fi

   Indoor Wi-Fi plus licensed small cells

   Outdoor Wi-Fi plus licensed small cells

Figure 2.      Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway

Service Provider Wi-Fi Gateways

Service provider Wi-Fi has emerged as a popular and low-cost method for offloading data traffic from licensed spectrum. The Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway supports service provider Wi-Fi gateway functions for both trusted and untrusted deployments (Figure 3).

Figure 3.      Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway Support for Licensed and Unlicensed Small Cells

When the mobile network operator owns, deploys, and controls Wi-Fi network access elements and the backhaul to the core, the deployment is considered trusted. The Cisco ASR 5000 Series supports two types of trusted Wi-Fi gateways:

   Evolved wireless access gateway (eWAG) for Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) access to the gateway GPRS support node (GGSN)

   S2a-based Mobility on GTP (SaMOG) gateway for LTE access to the PDN gateway (PGW)

Both the eWAG and SaMOG receive data traffic from the wireless LAN controller (WLC) that controls the access points that provide Wi-Fi connectivity to the mobile device. Main features include:

   Extensible Authentication Protocol Subscriber Identity Module (EAP-SIM), EAP-AKA authentication

   STa (Diameter) and Radius interface to authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) server

   S2a GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) Version 2 interface to PGW, GTPv1 interface to GGSN

   Ethernet over GRE (EoGRE) interface to the WLC

   PMIPv6 interface to the WLC

   Web authorization for non-EAP-SIM access (such as tablets)

   Call detail record generation

   Lawful Intercept support

   Local breakout for direct access to Internet

   Multiple Packet Data Protocol (PDP) session support

When the mobile network operator does not control the WLAN access, the deployment is considered untrusted. A typical example is a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet in a coffee shop. In this case, the mobile user needs to have an IPSec client and needs to establish a secure tunnel to the gateway. The Cisco ASR 5000 Series supports evolved Packet Data Gateway (ePDG) for LTE access to the PGW.

Key features of ePDG are:

   IKEv2 and IPSec encryption

   S2b GTPv2 interface to the PGW

   Multiple PDP session support

Small Cell Gateway Solutions

The Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway provides a complete solution for 3G and 4G small cells or Home Node-B (HNB) and Home eNode-B (HeNB) aggregation. Figure 4 illustrates the use of the Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway in a 3G or 4G small cell architecture with the following main features:

   3GPP standard compliance on all interfaces (Iuh, Iurh, IuCS, IuPS, IuBC, S1-MME, and S1-U, X2)

   Iu-Flex and S1-Flex for multicore network connectivity

   Full idle and active mode mobility between macro and small cells and small cell to small cell

   Open, closed, and hybrid access mode

   Home, small and medium-sized business, and enterprise deployments

   Intelligent paging

   Overload and congestion control

   Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) multihoming

   Cell Broadcast Service, also known as Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)

   Integrated Security Gateway (SeGW)

   Multiple authentication (X.509 and EAP-SIM/AKA)

   Zonal Presence and Services API

Figure 4.      Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway: HNB-GW, HeNB-GW

Whether used for WLAN, small cell, or other emerging technologies, the gateway supports increasingly comprehensive and highly secure mobile services for subscribers while helping to reduce the mobile operator’s capital and operational expenditures.

Features and Benefits

The Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway offers:

   Superior performance and security, including IPsec tunnels, rapid tunnel setup rates, exceptional throughput, and deep packet inspection (DPI)

Benefit: Provides an exceptional customer experience, which helps increase revenue and foster customer loyalty

   Distributed architecture that facilitates integration of multiple access gateway functions on the same platform with the mobile packet core and Evolved Packet Core, such as service GPRS support node (SGSN), GGSN, Mobility Management Entity (MME), Serving Gateway (SGW), and PGW functions

Benefit: Reduces the number of components in the network, decreasing the number of potential points of failure and promoting lower capital and operational expenditures

   Fully standards-based, highly secure access for multiple access applications: Wi-Fi (eWAG, SAMOG, and ePDG) and 3G/4G small-cell (HNB-GW and HeNB-GW) solutions

Benefit: Gives operators greater security and freedom to choose the right access application for their specific needs, without the requirement to design an access solution around the limitations of multiple diverse products


The Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway provides a highly secure communications gateway between external untrusted networks and trusted networks. This solution supports multiple security standard functions, including ePDG, eWAG, SAMOG GW, HNB-GW, and HeNB-GW. With superior performance, reliability, and the capability to integrate the security gateway function into existing SGSN, SGW, GGSN, and PGW packet data nodes, this solution reduces both capital and operational expenditures. Whether used for Wi-Fi, licensed small cells, or other emerging technologies, the gateway helps you provide an outstanding mobile experience for your subscribers.

Table 1.       Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway Specifications



Wi-Fi functions


3G/4G small cell functions



  10 Gigabit Ethernet
  Gigabit Ethernet
  Fast Ethernet


  Iuh, Iurh
  IuCS, IuPS, IuFlex,
  S1 MME, S1 U, S1 Flex

IPsec tunneling

  Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) tunnel mode
  ESP anti-replay protection
  Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS)

IKEv2 and IPv4/v6

  RFC 4306-compliant
  Multiple Child SA support
  NAT Traversal (RFC 3947), NAT Keepalive, and ACL
  Configurable Dead Peer Detection (RFC 3706) timer support
  Diffie-Hellman Groups 1, 2, 5, and 14
  DoS protection including thresholds for control plane attacks

Encryption and authentication algorithms

  HMAC-MD5-96 (RFC 2403) NULL Encryption (RFC 2410)
  HMAC-SHA1-96 (RFC 2404)
  AES-128-CBC (RFC 3602)
  DES-CBC (RFC 2405)
  3DES-CBC (RFC 2451)

Authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA)

  RADIUS AAA client support
   Dynamic authorization extensions to RADIUS
  EAP authenticator
   Single EAP, user, device, or user/device authentication
   Fast reauthentication
  RADIUS accounting: per-session, per-R6 bearer connection, or per-application service flow
  RADIUS AAA server groups
  RADIUS custom dictionaries

IP address allocation

  AAA assignment
  Local pools (dynamic or static)
  Overlapping private IP address pools
  Dynamic home-agent address allocation
  DHCP proxy server

Quality of service (QoS)

  Network admission control
  Multiflow QoS traffic classification
  DiffServ Code Point (DSCP) marking/re-marking

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