Samsung Ubicell Review

Image This Korean electronic equipment vendor is perhaps better known for its range of mobile phones and other consumer electronic products, although it does have a growing range of infrastructure products, especially for 3G CDMA and LTE. Although they were first to market with a 2G CDMA residential femtocells for Sprint and Verizon in the US, they have not expanded into 3G UMTS.  Their 3G CDMA femtocells are now also deployed by Verizon Wireless but are not 3GPP2 standard compliant, and not deployed by Sprint for that reason.

Other South Korean small cell vendors have developed 3G UMTS and LTE small cell products, which underlay their LTE macrocell networks.

History

Samsung launched the Ubicell CDMA femtocell into production 2007. At that time, they also announced plans for a WCDMA version to be in production 2008 but this did not appear. The CDMA femtocell includes GPS to ensure the system is used only where operator has licenced spectrum. This facility may also be useful for location services including E911 emergency calls. The GPS signal is used for sychronisation, with the initial design incorporating a timing solution from Trimble. The unit therefore may need to be located near a window in order to receive the GPS signal to operate correctly - an antenna extension lead is provided for customers to allow some more flexibility in positioning it in the home.

Sprint (the US operator) launched their product in September 2007. This uses 1xRTT and so is ideal for voice, texting and slow/small data usage, but does not support high speed data modes such as EVDO.

US FCC granted approval on 26 April 2007 for their CDMA version used by Sprint. This states maximum power of 83mW and frequency tolerance of 2.5ppm in the band 1930 to 1990MHz. The test report shows some more detailed photos. Samsung also partnered with ZTE to produce the Home NodeB in February 2007, further details unknown.

Signed a deal with Skyworks in November 2007, who will supply transceivers, amplifiers and other components.

Verizon launched their Wireless Extender with the same Ubicell 2G CDMA product in January 2009.

Product Information

EJL Wireless offer a full design report about this product, listing parts from component suppliers including: Analog Devices, Avago Technologies, AVX Corporation. Cortina Systems, EPCOS, Lattice Semiconductor, Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated Circuits, Murata Electronics Co., Ltd., NEC Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Skyworks Solutions, SST, Texas Instruments & Trimble Navigation.

Specifications of Ubicell (2G CDMA version)

  • Air Interface IS95 A/B & CDMA2000 1X or WCDMA
  • System Capacity 1FA Omni
  • Channel Elements 4 traffic channels
  • Frequency 1.9GHz
  • Output Power Max. 50mw
  • Input Voltage 90~250VAC
  • Network Interface 10/100 BaseTx Ethernet (xDSL/Cable Modem)
  • Weight 1lb

Solution Architecture

Samsung offer a complete end-to-end solution for their CDMA femtocell including provisioning and configurations servers, data gateways (PDSN) and other supporting systems. The diagram below (courtesy of Samsung) illustrates their femtocell solution architecture.

Ubicell-CDMA-Schema

 

A 3G CDMA version of the Ubicell was launched in October 2010. This offers EV-DO high speed data in addition to basic voice and SMS text.

Other than this 3G CDMA product, it appears that other, smaller, Korean companies have been encouraged to develop and market 3G and LTE small cells while Samsung concentrate on the macrocell products, especially for LTE.

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