Friday 26 February 2010

Femtocells for LTE

Picture Source: Continuous Computing

Going back to my old posts here and here, I mentioned that one of the ideas being floated is that to roll out LTE technology initially in Femtocells as that will give the device manufacturers and the operators an idea and a feel about the technology. All the gremlins can be ironed out before mass market take up.

As you may have heard (or know) that in UK, Vodafone rolled out Femtocells which have now been branded as 'Sure Signal' and the device now costs less than half the initial price. The falling prices is because of the fall in the Bill Of Materials (BOM) as well as operator getting more confidence and subsidising the femto's a bit more. Of course this fall in prices means increase in uptake and that is what is being expected by the industry.

At the same time, some small players are getting more interested in the small cells for LTE. The following is from an article in The Register:

Meanwhile, the femto players are looking ahead to LTE, where there are many indications from operators that tiny cells will play a big part in the strategy. The devices will be used from day one by some carriers - to offload data from the macrocell or to provide indoor coverage in high frequencies like 2.6GHz. They could also add capacity to deployments in low frequencies like 700MHz and even be used as a starting point for greenfield providers, which could then add macro networks later, explained Simon Saunders, chair of the Femto Forum.

Continuous Computing has been eyeing the femto market for several years from its heartlands in protocol stacks, core networking and traffic shaping. At MWC, it worked with picoChip and Cavium Networks to show the first complete LTE femtocell reference design. Available immediately, this includes the LTE modem, RF and packet processors, protocol software, intelligent router functionality and a complete Evolved Packet Core (EPC) simulator.

"The demand for LTE femtocells is unquestionable. We are already seeing operators asking for small cell access points to start testing in the second half of this year. Femtocells represent the key to avoiding the difficulties surrounding the first 3G deployments where roll-outs cost too much, took too long and did not meet user expectations," said Mike Dagenais, CEO of Continuous.

Ps: Also read the post on Metro Femtocells here.

No comments: