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Femtocells Overview

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.”

Although 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.

Indeed, many observers believe that femtocells will be a fundamental technology enabler in the deployment of next-generation network infrastructure technologies such as UMTS LTE.

picoChip pioneered the femtocell concept from its inception. Through in-house and partner developments we offer software-defined solutions for all three major 3G wireless technologies – WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and cdma2000. We have the only single-chip reference design to fully support WiMAX Wave 2 and full IO-MIMO, a market where our products are de facto industry standards.

Our commitment to developing the femtocell concept continues. picoChip’s programmable multi-core solutions are upgradeable to accommodate emerging technologies such as HSPA+, and provide a roadmap to future systems such as LTE – where we have already demonstrated a working femtocell design.

We recently announced the PC3xx series, a new range of SoC femtocell solutions: and our hardware, software IP and experience are proving key in the development of innovative femtocell products for other wireless standards, such as GSM.

Everything You Should Know About Femtocell Technology

Femtocell technology is a system that utilizes access point to improve reception inside an office or home. The technology uses a device known as Femtocell that resembles a wireless router which acts as a repeater. The device works by communicating with people via the mobile phone then converts the voice call into voice over IP (VoIP) packets. The converted packets are then transmitted over a broadband connection to the servers of the mobile operator. Femtocell is the smallest types of small cell technology and it is typically used to expand cellular network connectivity in a small or single location. Femtocell is not only the smallest in small cell technologies but it is also the one that uses the least amount of power. As a result, they don’t give much impact to people who want to expand their network connectivity. In fact, when you compare Femtocell with other type if small cell such as microcells and picocells, you will quickly discover that Femtocell give the smallest amount of bandwidth. As a result, experts recommend that it should only be used in specific location.

How does Femtocell technology work?

Most operators offer Femtocell service and hardware in airline protocol including UMTS, GMS CDMA, EV-DO, cdma2000, WiMAX and LTE. When the cellular subscriber connect to Femtocell base station to his/her broadband internet connection (I.E DSLv or cable modem) through the Ethernet, he will be provided with a GPS receiver which is crucial in setting up of Femtocell. The GPS allows you to disable services in case the base station is moved. It also allows you to limit operating parameter to specific location. Knowing the base station is important because it enables you to troubleshoot problems fast.

A Femtocell base station usually transmit 20mW which is actually 100 times weaker than the normal base station and about 1/5 less the power of the normal Wi-Fi access point. The range is limited depending on the height of the base station as well as the local clutter environment. In most cases, the range is usually limited to 30m in residential setting. Femtocell technology allow up to 4 users to use the device simultaneously while in an office setting, up to 10 users allowed to access the network. Typically, Femtocell is usually used in locations where there is an already existing network backhaul or in an occasion where backhaul can be developed easily without too much capital investment.

Why choose Femtocell technology

Despite their limited capacity, Femtocell network have certain advantage other small devices meaning that they can benefit both office and home user. They are less expensive when compared to their counterparts because they consume less power. They can provide better connectivity to small groups of people who are looking for an efficient but affordable cellular connectivity.

The Femtocell technology offer a more reliable indoor service to users. In addition to that, they have high mobile data rates and longer battery life. As a result, you will have more customer satisfaction as well as get the opportunity to enjoy low cost broadband connection.

Unlike other small cells such as microcells that are usually affected by shadow effect especially if the broadband signal is too strong and placed close to another transmitting the same signal, Femtocell is more stable and hence not affected by this problem. This means that you don’t have to worry about signal degradation.

Benefits of this technology – Networking

Drawbacks of Femtocell technology

Although Femtocell technology has plenty of benefit to users, it also has its own drawbacks. For instance, there is risk that the signal can be affected by larger microcell network. In addition to that, if Femtocell network is within a scope of microcell network, then there are high chances that Femtocell network can become unstable because of disruption. However, interference caused by clashing of two networks can be mitigated by adding more Femtocell antennas. Placing more Femtocell antenna will help strengthen Femtocell cellular signal hence enabling you to enjoy good services.

What is the future of Femtocell technology?

The future of Femtocell technology looks bright especially for people who are looking for low cost and obstruction free network solution. Their low powered natured still makes Femtocell to be one of the most preferred network solution especially for those who are looking for network connectivity that only covers few users at any given time.

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