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Thursday, 26 November 2009

SuperFemtos, 'greater femtocells' and 'wide area femtocells'

Picture Source: Metro Femto by 3G in the home

I think some companies may now be willing to go to any lengths to market their products. I did report some initial Femtocell Jargon but I stopped keeping track untill recently where I bumped into three of them in the same day.

Ubiquisys, the leading developer of 3G femtocells, announced commercial availability of its wide area femtocell solution, providing a coverage area of up to 12km2 (5 sq. miles) at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions. The new femtocell is ideal for rural areas with poor coverage, such as isolated villages, hamlets or farms. The company recently shared the results of a live demonstration of the solution in the field, at the Femtocell Americas event in San Diego.

The Wide Area Femtocells have a capacity of up to 16 calls and can either be mounted outdoors, or placed indoors with an external antenna, typically attached to the roof of the building. They can be deployed very quickly, because they continuously adapt their radio configuration according to the operator’s policies, working in harmony with the regular mobile network and eliminating the need for a radio planning project.

The solution can be combined with Ubiquisys Grid System technology to cover still larger areas with multiple femtocells, which form a self-organising mesh of coverage and capacity.

Ubiquisys has performed a field demonstration of its wide area femtocells in a rural area near Swindon in the UK. The demonstration showed that for less energy than it takes to power a light bulb, a village area with a 1.5km radius was provided with comprehensive coverage.

The wide area femtocell solution is commercially available today and is being actively deployed.


A Class 3 femtocell reference design, the PC8219E from picoChip claims a world first that brings femtocell technology to campuses, rural areas or 'metrozone' hot-spots. The turnkey solution builds on the company's field-proven robust PC8208 and 8209 PHYs to provide a complete extended-reach HSPA femtocell baseband. The device has already been delivered to customers and deployed by carriers.

The PC8219E's eight user capacity, 2 km range and support for vehicular mobility make it well-suited for low-cost, wide-area open access femtocell deployments in areas where carriers need to cost-effectively enhance coverage and capacity. Although femtocells are often thought of for residential applications, there is a growing recognition that the advantages they deliver, in terms of capital and operating expenditure, can be more broadly applicable.

The PC8219E is a programmable, flexible, easily integrated product that caters for multiple users, has self configuration features and backhauls via the internet. Featuring industry-standard FAPI and FRMI interfaces, as defined by the Femto Forum, the reference design also has fully-compliant security functions. The design includes a network monitoring function that allows the femtocell to reconfigure itself to behave like a handset receive chain, synchronizing with a macro-base station nearby, improving network planning and providing the basis for Self Organizing Network (SON) functions.

This new variety of mobile cells has been termed 'greater femtocells' or 'superfemtos'. Such products are similar to the 3GPP 'Local Area Basestation' or traditional picocells, but add the femtocell's capabilities to use standard backhaul and to self-configure for interference management. The Femto Forum has recently standardized femtocells into Class 1 (typically residential), Class 2 (primarily indoor for enterprise) and Class 3 (for rural, metro and wider area deployment).