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2011 Femtocell End of Year Report Card

reportcardWith the passing of another year, it’s time to reflect back on the achievements of the last 12 months and consider what awaits us next year. As usual, we compare progress with our predictions from this time last year and make some bold assertions of what’s to come.

Radisys see growth in dual mode 3G/LTE femtocells and small cells

Manish SinghManish Singh, CTO of Radisys, shares his industry views on the emerging consensus for small cells to solve the data capacity issue, discusses how different vendors are approaching product development and reveals a surprising aspect of the format and purpose of the first dual-mode 3G/LTE femtocells.

Spotlight on ip.access femtocell and their small cell solutions

ipaccess logoThe recent announcement from ip.access of a residential 3G femtocell may have surprised some in the industry. As part of one of the world’s largest femtocell deployments at AT&T, surely they already had this capability? How does this new product position alongside their existing 2G and Cisco solutions? We dug a bit deeper to find out more.

 

Will SFR break the mould of residential femtocell rollouts?

sfr-logoFew commentators seem to have spotted that SFR’s free femtocell offer may be a pre-emptive competitive strike against Illiad, who had earlier announced a similar scheme. The French market will be closely watched by others, keen to see if this attractive offer of free femtocells is a market disruptor.

Will SFR’s recent announcement of free femtocells change the market and become an example for the rest of the market?

Googlemaps and femtocells

Googlemap PhoneGooglemaps must be one of the most popular apps for smartphones these days. It’s particularly useful when finding your way on foot around a new city or part of town. It’s also popular at home and in the office to lookup places to visit. But despite being an outstanding app, there remain some real issues when using it both for location accuracy and data capacity.

BBC 3G coverage finds gaps - Are femtocells the right solution?

BBC LogoThe BBC conducted a survey of 3G coverage in the UK and recently published their results. They do warn it’s not completely scientific and that the data should be interpreted with caution, but it does point out shortcomings in 3G coverage around the country. The test used a smartphone application to measure and report 3G signal availability, with results collated centrally. Data testing firm Epitiro, who also supply wireline broadband performance measuring systems, provided the system itself. 44,600 volunteers  ran the application and contributed to the study, which operated across all UK networks. I expect similar results might be observed in many other countries.

Taqua acquires Tatara Systems

TaquaTatara Systems, a leading provider of a pivotal component for 3G CDMA femtocells, has recently been acquired. We wanted to understand more, and spoke to both companies about the move. We wanted to know if Taqua are as committed to femtocells, whether the business strategy will change, and whether this is a sign of Tatara’s success or failure.

Femtocells and The Village Pump

Village PumpThe digital village pump concept is based around providing good broadband services to remote rural areas that otherwise wouldn't get them. A fiber connection to the central distribution point is then shared between wireline and wireless connections in the nearby area. Combined with rural femtocells, the approach provides a cost effective means to reach more remote customers.

 

Will Apple IOS 5 generate greater demand for femtocells?

 

AppleApple has announced a number of new features in their next major release of operating system for the iPhone and iPad due out in September. IOS 5 adopts the cloud computing strategy and removes the need for users to run iTunes on their home computer. But it will also place stringent demands on wireless connectivity. Will these create a stronger use case for femtocells?

Illiad plans Free Mobile France will launch with free femtocells

france_3GWith all the flurry of Femtocell World Summit in recent weeks, one major announcement may have slipped by unnoticed. In what could become one of the largest femtocell deployments worldwide, the innovative French residential triple-play provider – Free – announced it would offer femtocells to all its 4 million customers at no charge (presumably they have to signup for their mobile service though). They are due to launch 3G mobile service early next year as the new fourth operator in France, and this could give them a distinct advantage as well as quickly becoming the largest femto deployment worldwide.

The Five Femtocell Ecosystems

EcosystemNetwork operators typically buy their major network equipment from a small number of large equipment suppliers. For macrocells, the vast majority of the market is served by Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens. These companies can provide a full range of services, including not just installation but financing, complete network build, and ongoing management. There has been a growing trend towards outsourcing the entire radio network operation to such companies.

In the femtocell industry you again find a small number of solution providers with whom the major operators will do business. These provide the reassurance, scale and range of services to reduce risk. Network operators seeking to trial or launch femtocells will typically have gone through an RFP (Request for Proposal) process with several of them. There are also a few smaller new entrants who have bypassed this arrangement due to special circumstances. Whether the mainstream approach will change as the market matures remains to be seen.

RadiSys acquires femtocell software supplier Continuous Computing – What are the Implications?

Radisys LogoWe don't normally publish interviews with the same people in a short space of time, but the surprise announcement of RadiSys purchasing Continuous Computing was too good to miss. Here, Manish Singh, VP of Product Line Management at Continuous Computing, answers some popular questions on the reasons behind the acquisition, explains who will be running the new combined business and the impact it will have on their customers – especially those using Trillium software in their femtocell products today.

Femtocells restore mobile service after natural disasters

natural-disasterTwo operators presented on how they had used femtocells in an unusual way at last week's Femtocell Asia conference. In both cases, there had been natural disasters which destroyed existing cellsites – restoring service for both emergency and general users was a priority. Femtocells were able to be deployed quickly to achieve this goal.

 

Are public Wi-Fi standards too late to match femtocell capabilities?

wi-fi-alliance-logoThe Wi-Fi Alliance announced plans to develop specifications for use of Wi-Fi for public access. Timeframe indicated is perhaps middle of 2012 (it’s quoted as 1H2012) for the first certified products. Is this a case of too little too late, or will this raise Wi-Fi service capability to match that offered by public access femtocells?

Landlord Femtocells

landlordHotels are often considered to be a potentially attractive market for femtocells. But is there a wider and larger market for owners of rental premises of all sorts. Surely landlords could differentiate their buildings through small investments in femtocells.

Femtocell Roundup from Mobile World Congress 2011

mwc_logo_11Mobile World Congress is by far the largest event in the mobile industry calendar attracting more than 60,000 visitors from around the world - up by some 10,000 from before. This year's event was much more upbeat and optimistic, with more energy and enthusiasm - reflecting the general positive tone of the industry. Femtocells were again a prominent topic - here's our roundup of what was on show and how it related to the rest of the industry.

 

2010 Femtocell End of Year Report Card

reportcardWith the passing of another year, it’s time to reflect back on the achievements of the last 12 months and consider what awaits us next year. As usual, we compare progress with our predictions from this time last year and make some bold assertions of what’s to come.

Not yet another femtocell standard

logo_vzwVerizon Wireless has launched their 3G CDMA femtocell. Unfortunately they’ve gone down a proprietary route, choosing Samsung as sole supplier. Why not choose the same standard as Sprint, who have pioneered the new 3G CDMA standard?

Cordless phones are more of security risk than mobile phones using femtocells

cordless-phoneMost consumers don’t realise the security threat from using cordless phones instead of wired ones. Just as unsecured Wi-Fi connections can easily be intercepted, so can most digital cordless phone systems. Could this issue drive a stronger adoption of mobile phone use in the home, and indirectly greater takeup of femtocells to provide excellent call quality and security?

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    Residential

    Residential

    A significant number of users continue to report poor mobile coverage in their homes. There will always be areas which are uneconomic for mobile operator to reach. They range from rural areas

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    Enterprise

    Enterprise

    The term Enterprise addresses any non-residential in-building including hotels, convention centres, transport hubs, offices, hospitals and retail outlets. It's not just intended for businesses to

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    Urban

    Urban

    Urban small cells (sometimes also named metrocells) are compact and discrete mobile phone basestations, unobstrusively located in urban areas. They can be mounted on lampposts, positioned on the

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    Rural

    Rural

    A rural small cell is a low power mobile phone base station designed to bring mobile phone service to small pockets of population in remote rural areas. These could be hamlets, small villages or

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