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Metro Femtocells and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) Compared

Distributed Antenna Systems There’s been a lot of hype recently proposing femtocells as a low cost means of rolling out mobile network capacity (specifically for LTE, the new 4th Generation radio standard). Femtocells could be a low cost way of providing hotspot capacity in public areas. But in some situations, it will compete with existing techniques. Here we compare and contrast femtocells with DAS.

Sudhir Tangri - Aricent

Sudhir Tangri We spoke with Sudhir Tangri, Assistant VP Strategic Marketing from Aricent, who provide software, consultancy and SI to vendors and operators. He believes that the 3G femtocell BoM cost will drop next year to $50, suggests that it’s the applications not devices which will drive demand for LTE and believes LTE femtocells are the most appropriate way to rollout this new 4G radio capacity.


LTE Femtocells - coming to a lamp post near you soon

Lamp Post for Femtocells There is a lot of industry momentum building up for LTE femtocells. Much of this is from the vendor community, who have invested to create the chipsets and technology software platforms which enable it. For example, picoChip have already developed and proven an LTE femtocell prototype last year using the emerging standards.

Tariff plans for mobile broadband need to encourage users to offload data traffic to femtocells

Data Tariff Bundles  I've read several articles recently articulating that mobile broadband networks are quickly filling up with traffic and thus affecting the end-user experience. The dramatic reduction in pricing (1000 times cheaper), wide availability of USB data dongles and 3G service means that mobile broadband is moving from an occasional outdoor/on-the-road access to being marketed as a direct competitor for DSL wireline broadband at similar or even lower prices.

There are concerns that the networks aren't geared up to take the strain (particularly of streaming video) and are actively looking at alternative ways to satisfy their customer demands. One example is where the Apple iTune downloads to their iPhone are restricted to WiFi rather than over the mobile broadband network.

 

The thirst for wireless data. Are femtocells the cheapest way to quench it?

Thirst for Data The thirst for mobile data has never been stronger. Data revenues from several operators now exceed $10Bn annually and continue to grow. The adoption of mobile broadband has been rapid, particularly in Europe, where prices have been driven down to $20-30/month or less.

Indeed, a survey by the WiFi alliance found that 48% of students would give up beer rather than WiFi.

Data will grow by 200 to 700 times in the next 10 years

Femtocells. An inspector calls.

Femtocell inspector Self-installation is all the rage now. Broadband internet, TV, cordless phones, computers...... all "plug and play". Instead of sending a technician round to your home to install, setup and configure the equipment, its simply delivered to your door or collected from the shop. This has enabled dramatically reduced prices and rapid growth in these markets.

The cable industry is still somewhat different, sending a technician out to install your set-top box even when you've just taken moved in and are reconnecting to the same cable service.

Femtocells are very much in the former category, being designed for self installation to keep costs down and we can expect this approach to work in at least 90% of cases.

Femtocell service to launch in Japan January 2009. Why IMS?

Softbank Logo Softbank Japan announced this week that it plans to launch a femtocell product in January 2009 and has awarded a supply contract to NEC. Unlike mainstream femtocell developments, this uses a different network architecture with calls made and received using the SIP internet protocol which is commonly used to handle Voice over IP (VoIP) calls rather than the existing mobile network core networks via the Iu interface. Why the different approach?

The Secret Sauce inside femtocells

Femtocell Secret Sauce What is the “secret sauce” that femtocell vendors add to the mix. With major component vendors such as picoChip providing reference designs for femtocells, you may think there is little to be done apart from assembling the components. Femtocell vendors on the other hand seek to differentiate themselves by adding value with specialist expertise.
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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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