Monday 22 June 2009

Book Review - Femtocells: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Technology

Femtocells: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Technology
by Simon Saunders, Stuart Carlaw, Andrea Giustina, Ravi Rai Bhat, V. Srinivasa Rao

This is not a very thick book with just 252 pages. Someone may say that there is not much to write about Femtocells. I say that you can fill couple of thousand pages not with much difficulty on Femtocells but it is important to seperate the useful things that everyone will be interested in and just keep that in the book. When I told a colleague that a new book on Femtocells is out, the first question he asked me jokingly is does it cover 'Zero Touch'. The answer is, yes it does ;)

It starts with the very basic what Femtocell is and what its not, goes on to talk about the types, the user benefits, Attributes, applications, challenges, etc.

It then goes on to examine the background for small cells, placing femtocells in the context of the history of other solutions for in-building service and explains the market and technological factors which have made femtocells a compelling proposition. It also addresses market issues, covering the benefits and motivations of femtocells for operators, the key market challenges, business case analysis and forecasts for the take-up of femtocells.

Chapter 4 covers radio issues for femtocells, including the requirements and methods for interference management between femtocells, femtocell RF specifications and health issues. There is a very good table that lists out the potential problems of using Femtocells.

The next chapter covers the network architecture of femtocells, particularly the interfaces and protocols for integrating femtocells with the operator network across the Internet and the way in which the various options differ between standards families. This chapter also introduces the 3GPP based Iuh interface for Home NodeB's. There are other interesting Femto architectures like the CDMA based, WiMAX based, GSM based and LTE based covered in this as well.

Then there is a chapter on the Management of Femto's that describes the requirements and approaches for provisioning and managing millions of femtocells in an efficient and scalable fashion. It explains about the TR-069 data structure and management protocol.

Chapter 7 is dedicated to the very important topic of Security. It explains the security aspects of femtocells from a customer and operator perspective, including analysis of the potential threats and solutions.

Chapter 8 covers the standards for femtocells across the main mobile standards families, namely 3GPP, 3GPP2 and WiMAX Forum. It also introduces the industry bodies who are playing important roles in the introduction and proliferation of femtocells. There is a list of all the 3GPP standards for the Home NodeB and Home eNodeB.

Finally there are chapters on Regulation (including lawful interception, etc.), Implementation Considerations (showing refrerence designs, etc.), Business and Service Options (with examples of scenarios and service options) followed by a Summary.

You can learn more about this book from its official website at

There are lots of things I may not agree on and there are things i would like to argue about but overall It looks like an interesting book especially for people who either work in or follow femtocells area. With the femtocell information scarce at the moment, this book is like information goldmine for readers. I would be interested in hearing from any readers about their opinion of this book.

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