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Femtocells are perhaps the most exciting products emerging in the communications market today. According to Dr Alastair Brydon of Analysys, “Femtocells have the potential to transform the telecoms industry.”

Femtocell OverviewAlthough they were originally conceived as low-cost consumer products, today it is becoming clear that femtocells will be deployed in a diverse range of communications infrastructure applications. Providing metropolitan “hot-zone” coverage, servicing the in-building needs of enterprises, and even allowing network operators to reach small rural communities; all of these possibilities – and more – will be enabled by femtocells.

ABI Research forecasts that the total femtocell market in 2010 will reach 2.3 million units, and will exceed 45 million within five years. In 2009 alone, six major network operators will launch femtocell rollouts in the USA, Europe and Asia.

Nor is the femtocell story - as some have suggested - simply about making up for the inadequacies of current network coverage. Unwired Insight predicts a 20x increase in 3G traffic in the next five years – with some 3G operators running out of capacity as early as 2010.

Femtocells can boost existing network capacity and help operators avoid "the data crunch".

For these and other reasons, at picoChip we firmly believe that femtocells will be a fundamental enabler in the deployment of next-generation network infrastructure technologies such as LTE.

picoChip pioneered the femtocell concept from its inception. Through in-house and partner developments we offer products for all three major 3G wireless technologies – WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and cdma2000 - as well as a solution for GSM.

Our picoXcell femtocell SoCs provide low-cost solutions for a range of residential, enterprise and "greater femtocell" applications. And we have already announced products for LTE, that allow developers to start work on prototyping and testing networks now, with a migration path to silicon integration.

Finally, we are a founder member and active participant in the Femto Forum, an independent membership body whose mission is to encourage innovation, collaboration and product interoperability across the industry.