Integrated Femtocells

The first residential femtocell products to market were standalone. These smaller devices connect using ethernet to a broadband internet connection, whether for residential, enterprise or outdoor/public use.

As femtocell technology developed, these devices could be quickly re-engineered and designed with smaller form factor or a selection of different capacities, sizes and range. The rapid advancement was helped by their standalone design.

The next step is to design standalone femtocell modules, often as small as a matchbox, which could be incorporated into other electronic devices. Popular options were domestic DSL modem/routers and IPTV set top boxes. In addition to the hardware integration, these combined devices often share the same remote operations and diagnostic systems. Set top boxes can interwork through the TV, displaying Called ID for incoming calls as one example.

Several products were protytped and developed by vendors including Thomson, Bewan and ADB but few have made it through to large scale commercial production. Asian ODMs would be very capable of developing such products, expanding their existing home hubs that incorporate vDSL and Wi-Fi. Perhaps the first large scale deployment has been with Free France, with their combined set top box with integrated Wi-Fi and 3G femtocell.

We can expect further products of this nature, especially where both wireline broadband and cellular service are provided by the same network provider.

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