Showing posts with label Femtocells. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Femtocells. Show all posts

Monday, 11 June 2012

The 'Virtual' Femtocell and a competition for OTT Apps

Over the last few months we have been thinking of so many ideas around small cells and this is something that we thought. It looks very simple and straightforward and having talked to a few small cells experts, off the record, none of them seem to be able to see anything wrong with this concept. With the 'Small Cells World Summit' just round the corner I am sure this could be something worth a discussion.

I am explaining the concept using an HSPA+ setup but there is no reason why this would not work in an LTE Setup. This is a typical connection for HSPA+ Femtocell setup with the gateway acting as a concentrator for all Iuh connections and having a single Iu connection towards the core. I have not shown CS/PS connection separately for simplicity. 
We propose a 'Virtual' or 'Invisible' Femtocell concept where we think that the Femtocell is redundant but the concept can be used to avoid the coverage and capacity problems faced by the operators and at the same time avoid the 'Signalling storm', atleast on the access network side. Now most smartphones have WiFi stack inbuilt. For this concept to work, WiFi in the phone is a must. Instead of having a Femtocell in between, a modified stack could be embedded in the phone itself. The output of the phone over WiFi are the Iuh messages that can terminate at the gateway and no difference would be needed from the core network side. This is illustrated in the picture below.
The phones would also need to have an enhanced UI to be able to allow a user to select only this option when roaming. You don't want a situation where the user thinks that he is camped on the 'Virtual' femtocell and making/receiving calls while he is not and run up a huge bill.

Advantages of this approach:

  • The Femtocells are no longer really needed and the end customer does not require to buy a separate equipment, which is different for different operators.
  • The phones can be working whenever a reliable WiFi connection is available, even if they are abroad without incurring costly roaming charges.
  • Some operators that do not have a lot of spectrum available avoid using Femtocells as they can cause interference and black holes in the coverage. 
  • There is no worry of a femtocell being used abroad illegally thereby causing interference with spectrum in another country.
  • Some security issues can be totally avoided and it would be worth for the operators that the keys being used cannot be seen by others.
  • A lot of people use OTT apps like Skype, Viber, Whatsapp when abroad, being camped on WiFi to avoid costly roaming charges. This approach would mean that the normal Voice and Messaging becomes similar to OTT and can help operator avoid losing out to the OTT apps. 


Disadvantages of this approach:

  • WiFi spectrum is already congested and does not always give reliable coverage.
  • Security issues would have to be looked in detail to make sure this would be secure enough. Since this concept is similar to creating a VPN between the phone and the gateway, I wouldnt think there would be any issues though.
  • Roaming revenues are a big cash cow for the operators, most of them would be unwilling to lose this if the phones are using this approach.

I think this concept is more suitable for the Residential Femtocells rather than the other Small Cells (enterprise, metro, pico, etc.) and there will always be a need for them. The main reason being that on a large scale, WiFi is extremely unreliable, prone to interference and not future proofed. A new device may cause interference that may take forever to resolve. Operating a small cell in the licensed spectrum would always make sense and the reliability would be much higher.

If you think this makes sense please click the 'Useful' checkbox so that I know.

As a company we are always looking to engage with other companies to discuss similar ideas. If you are a company dealing with Small Cells and are open to discussing similar ideas, please let us know.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Monday, 26 March 2012

3GPP LTE Evolved Packet System & Application to Femtos

A video of the actual presentation is embedded below. Its quite long (94 minutes)



The presentation is available to download in PDF format from here.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Release 12 study item on Continuity of Data Sessions to Local Networks (CSN)

LIPA was defined as part of Release-10 that I have already blogged about. Imagine the situation where a user started accessing local network while camped on the Home eNode B (aka Femtocell) but then moved to the macro network but still wants to continue using the local network. Release 12 defines this feature and is called Continuity of Data Sessions to Local Networks (CSN). This study item was originally part of Release 11 but has now been moved to Rel-12.



From SP-100885:


Justification
Basic functionality for Local IP Access (LIPA) has been specified in Rel-10.
LIPA signifies the capability of a UE to obtain access to a local residential/enterprise IP network (subsequently called a local network) that is connected to one or more H(e)NBs.
The current study item investigates extending LIPA functionality to allow access to the local network when a UE is under coverage of the macro network and provide related mobility support.

LIPA allows a UE to work with devices in the local network – e.g. printers, video cameras, or a local web-server. If the local network offers services that enable exchange of digital content (e.g. UPnP) LIPA allows the UE to discover supporting devices and to be discovered.
Examples for services that become available by LIPA are:
·         The pictures stored in a UE’s digital camera may be uploaded to a local networked storage device or printed out at a local printer.
·         A portable audio player in the UE may fetch new content from a media centre available on the local network.
·         A UE may receive video streams from local surveillance cameras in the home.
·         A local web-server in a company’s intranet may be accessed by the UE.
·         Support of VPN.
LIPA does not require the local network to be connected to the Internet but achieves IP connectivity with the UE through one or more H(e)NBs of the mobile operator.
In Release 10  3GPP has only specified the support of LIPA when the UE accesses the local network via H(e)NB.
On the other hand an operator may, e.g. as a chargeable user service, wish to provide access to the local network also to a UE that is under coverage of the macro network. Access to the local network when a UE is under coverage of the macro network should be enabled in Rel-11.

In Rel-10 it had been required for a UE to be able to maintain IP connectivity to the local network when moving between H(e)NBs within the same local network.
However, access to the local network may be lost as a UE moves out of H(e)NB coverage into the macro network, even if other services (e.g. telephony, data services, SIPTO) survive a handover to the macro network and are continued. This may result in an unsatisfactory user experience.
The current study item will allow continuation of data sessions to the local network when the UE moves between H(e)NB and the macro network.

Therefore, in Rel-11, the 3GPP system requires additional functionality to allow
·         A UE to access the local network from the macro network
·         A UE to maintain continuity of data sessions to the local network when moving between a H(e)NB and the macro network

Objective:              to propose requirements and study feasibility for the following scenarios:
Provide a capability to the mobile operator to allow or restrict
­        Access to an enterprise/residential IP network when a UE is under coverage of the macro network, assuming that the IP address of the local IP network (e.g. residential/enterprise gateway) is available to the UE.
­        Continuity of data session(s) to an enterprise/residential IP network when a UE moves between a H(e)NB in an enterprise/residential environment and the macro network.
The support of Continuity of Data Sessions to Local Networks should be an operator option that may or may not be provided by individual PLMNs.

Service Aspects
The user should be able to decline access to the local network from the macro network. The user should also be able to decline continuity of data sessions to local networks when moving between H(e)NB and the macro network (e.g. in the case when data sessions to local networks is charged differently if accessed from macro coverage or via the H(e)NB).
A difference in QoS may be noticeable by the user when the local network is accessed from the macro network or via the H(e)NB.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Femto as a Service (FaaS)

The following is from a recent Small Cells conference, presented by Colt Telecom.
I wanted to highlight the Femto as a Service (FaaS) concept as I think that this may be the way forward in future. Since multiple people have phones and devices from multiple operators and it would not be possible to have Femtocells from different operators, this may be an easy solution.

I am not exactly sure about what Spectrum would be used but I guess a better case could also have been that the Fixed operator has its own spectrum that it can use and a single Femto would allow any operator's device to connect. The Femto Core can route the call to the correct mobile operator so there would be no need for multiple femtos in a house.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Femtocell Backhaul Options


Any others?

There is also this interesting presentation from Maravedis on Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) backhaul, embedded below:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Femtocells for Low Energy Buildings

Exactly three years back I posted an article about 'Femtocells for Radiation Proofed Homes' and when I saw this presentation by Elisa, Finland, It just validated with the research what I had mentioned. With the government push for more low energy infrastructure and at the same time the new technologies using higher frequencies, this problem is going to keep getting worse. Untill ofcourse the coming of 'Wireless Friendly Buildings'.

Elisa's presentation as follows:

Monday, 3 October 2011

LTE Survey from Telecom Asia and Maravedis

Click on the pic. to enlarge

Interesting survey results. As seen in Fig. 2 above if Video and P2P is the main drivers for LTE for some operators, soon they may end up in trouble as the users will consume as much as allowed and given opportunity. An interesting thing though is that the operators are thinking of a fallback strategy that includes Wifi, Femtocells and Picocells (Fig. 3). Finally (Fig. 4), interesting to see that operators believe in launching Smartphones for LTE, I guess CS Fallback is the only possible option for the time being (and maybe for some time to come).

You can read the complete report below:
If its too difficult to read the embed, go to Slideshare here and download presentation.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Panel Session on Small Cells (Femtocells) from Cambridge Wireless SIG event

Panel Session on Small Cells (Femtocells) from Cambridge Wireless SIG event from Zahid Ghadialy on Vimeo.

From the Cambridge Wireless Small Cell Special Interest Group event


“Small Cells: the beginning and where we are now”

15 September 2011

At The IET, Savoy Place, London, WC2R 0BL


Panel Session

Chair: Mike Bowerman, Account Manager, Alcatel Lucent.

Participants (from Left to right):

Professor Will Stewart, IET

Houston Spencer, VP Solutions and Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Will Franks, CTO and Founder, Ubiquisys

Chris Cox, Director of Marketing, ip.access

More details about the speakers and the event available at: http://www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/Agenda/SCS1_15.09.11.pdf


Monday, 19 September 2011

Summary from the 'Small Cells' Event in Cambridge Wireless

We recently had our first 'Small Cells' SIG event in Cambridge Wireless entitled 'Small Cells: The beginning and where we are now'. The following presentation is the Introduction to Cambridge wireless and the 'Small Cells' SIG (special interest group).


Embedded below are the slides and the videos that were taken by our host for the day, 'The IET'.

The first presentation was by Prof. Will Stewart of The IET entitled 'Small Cells - Why small cells?'.



Next presentation: 'Small Cells - the big brother of femtocells. Why they are needed, and where is the femtocell market that they build on' by Will Franks, Ubiquisys



Next Presentation: 'Small Cells - On the origin of Small Cells by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured providers in the struggle for mobile broadband' by Houston Spencer, Alcatel-Lucent



Final Presentation: 'Small Cells - Mass scale femtocell deployments' by Chris Cox, IP.Access



Overall it was a good event. The main complaint was that people had lots of questions but didnt get to ask them. Hopefully they will ask them in the future events.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ultra Self Organising Networks (UltraSON)

While watching the Femtocell Video, I was a bit curious on what exactly UltraSON does, so I decided trying to find more info. Surprisingly the information was hard to come by. I finally managed to find the Qualcomm site that has more details but surprisingly it wasnt east to find. From the website (link at bottom):

Qualcomm femtocell R&D program is focused on developing self organizing network features to address interference and mobility management for femtocell deployment in residential and enterprise environments. Interference and mobility management is a chief concern especially when operators are planning for high levels of perfromace from dense and an unplanned femtocell deployments. Qualcomm has developed UltraSON™, a comprehensive suite of interference and mobility management techniques for femtocell deployments in residential and enterprises.

The techniques that make UltraSON:


More details on UltraSON at : http://www.qualcomm.com/research/femtocells

Interesting promotional Femtocell video by Qualcomm