3GPP approves 3G UMA femtocell standard

3GPP femtocell standard 3GPP have now approved an update to the UMA specification which adds the 3G interface, thus providing the only fully standardised approach which allows operators to buy femtocells and femtocell controllers from separate suppliers.

There are still around six additional minor "tweaks" needed to make the standard commercially attractive, and these are expected to be added over the coming months. The main interface to comply with is the Iu, which connects between 3G core and radio access network. All femtocell vendors comply with this standard, something the main operator groups have been pressing for some time.

UMA is promoted strongly by Kineto Wireless, the only significant UNC (femtocell gateway controller) vendor. It has completed testing with Ubiquisys, an independent femtocell vendor. This combined solution has also been adopted by Netgear, who have built a combined DSL modem/WiFi hub integrating Ubiquisys femtocell product. NEC have been running several operator trials using this combined solution, where they operate as System Integrators.

Other vendors have used their own proprietary protocols to connect femtocells and the gateway controllers. However, Nokia-Siemens have published their femtocell gateway controller protocol, and proven interworking with several femtocell vendors, despite it not being a formally approved standard.

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