Currently viewing the tag: "femtocells"

I like this Aviat diagram. 

So have you seen all the press reports about The New iPad?  In the beginning it was about features etc…now the chorus of boos is about the LTE data plans from VZW and ATT. People are looking at the size of files that can be displayed on the tablet’s high resolution ‘retina’ display (2048×1536 pixels) and then looking at all of the application download sizes and coming to the conclusion that $5/10GB is a little high. I agree. It’s skyway robbery.










On the other hand, remember this chart? 

 Anyway the operators are banking on improving margins with you/we early adopters so this should not be shocking. They essentially need us to pay for the service but not really use it. Unfortunately this is not going to be the case with high speed mobile wireless. 

Unfortunately the wireless operator networks are organized for voice and sort of inefficiently designed for data, thus the costs for the operators will always be high and they will always be hesitant to give us a reasonable deal.

There is a way around this problem though. Operators could encourage the deployment of small cells (you are penalized now by having to buy one or complain to get one) and offer us free usage on small cells like femto cells. Traffic from a small cell is much less costly for them than over the macro network and while you are in coverage of a small cell you are going to be getting a very good signal, so high throughput is likely, thus this becomes a win-win solution.

So a lot of things on the operator’s side have to change to make this happen, but they are no different than the level of commitment it takes to launch LTE in the first place. It’s time for small cells to save the day. Let’s go get this done.

Links:, Aviat

Today the Femto Forum announced that they are forevermore The Small Cell Forum. Makes sense as femtocells are sort of boring right now with very little customer traction and everybody and their dog has made a launch announcement and yet on the other hand there have been different initiatives at places like Sprint to launch enterprise versions and some carriers have even dabbled in CDMA/LTE pico cells. I am curious as to how much work there is to do over time in this area? I suppose writing the relevant additions to SON etc to support small cells more fully are on the roadmap but then what?  Here are some stats in their PR:

According to ABI Research, 4.3 million small cells (including femtocells, picocells and microcells) will be shipped in 2012, rising to 36.8 million shipments in 2016, valued at $20.4 billion. They find that residential and enterprise models currently dominate small cell shipments with 62% and 30% respectively. ABI Research’s data suggests that by 2016, while indoor small cells will be 94% of total shipments, outdoor small cells will make up 64% of the revenue.

Links: Small Cell Forum

Femto Forum Becomes Small Cell Forum as Femtocell Technology Extends Beyond the Home

15th February 2012

Name change reflects the Forum’s support for enterprise, metro and rural small cells, building on the earlier success of residential femtocells

London, UK – The Femto Forum today announced it is to be renamed the Small Cell Forum in order to better reflect its work which embraces residential, enterprise, metro and rural small cells, as well as to prevent the perception that the small cell arena is fragmented. The Small Cell Forum will serve to develop consensus on common approaches, standards and agreed best practice for all small cells.

The Forum will address all small cells that operate in licensed spectrum, are operator-managed and feature edge-based intelligence – including what have been dubbed femtocells, picocells, microcells and metrocells. It will also support the crossover between small cells and other relevant technologies including: Wi-Fi, cloud RAN (which connects cellular radio to cloud-based intelligence over fibre), Distributed Antenna Systems, as well as macrocells as part of the new heterogeneous network (hetnet) environment.

The role of the Small Cell Forum will be to tackle the practical challenges facing deployment. This includes finding appropriate small cell sites; delivering power and backhaul; managing interactions between small cells, macrocells and other wireless technologies; and effective interoperability and network management. This continues the work of the Femto Forum which has been actively working on small cells outside the home for some time, as well as their interactions with other technologies. Examples of this work include integrated Femto/Wi-Fi devices and networks; enterprise multi-femto architectures; public access small cell interference management; standards and management processes which are generic across all small cell types; and LTE small cell standards for all environments.

“Femtocell technology was originally designed for the home but has since extended into enterprise picocells, urban metrocells and modern microcells for all manner of locations. The core technologies developed by members of the Femto Forum – including Systems on a Chip, provisioning systems, standardised gateways, and other related innovations – lower the cost of licensed band solutions and facilitate easy deployments for all small cell products.   As such it is the ‘small cell’ banner that now best represents these technologies and it is one that mobile operators are strongly endorsing. In fact, surveys show operators regard small cells as playing a more important role than macrocells in future mobile networks*,” said Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Small Cell Forum.

According to ABI Research, 4.3 million small cells (including femtocells, picocells and microcells) will be shipped in 2012, rising to 36.8 million shipments in 2016, valued at $20.4 billion. They find that residential and enterprise models currently dominate small cell shipments with 62% and 30% respectively. ABI Research’s data suggests that by 2016, while indoor small cells will be 94% of total shipments, outdoor small cells will make up 64% of the revenue.

The success of the small cell market to date has focused on femtocells which have been deployed by 38 operators worldwide, including eight of the top ten (by revenue), with a 112% increase in deployments in 2011. These deployments have started to achieve scale with Sprint surpassing 500K units and Vodafone UK, Japan’s Softbank and France’s SFR, exceeding 100K – not to mention AT&T which is the world’s largest deployment.

The Small Cell Forum has also today published a free introductory whitepaper on small cells that is available here


About The Small Cell Forum
The Small Cell Forum (, formerly known as the Femto Forum, supports the wide-scale adoption of small cells. Small cells are low-power wireless access points that operate in licensed spectrum, are operator-managed and feature edge-based intelligence. They provide improved cellular coverage, capacity and applications for homes and enterprises as well as metropolitan and rural public spaces. They include technologies variously described as femtocells, picocells, microcells and metrocells. The Forum has 137 members including 63 operators representing more than 1.71 billion mobile subscribers – 33% of the global total – as well as telecoms hardware and software vendors, content providers and innovative start-ups.

Contact Details:

Oliver Chapman

Oliver [a t]

+44 (0) 7713 404 571

*An Informa Telecoms & Media survey found 60% of operators believe small cells are more important than macrocells in LTE deployments. Small cells were also the comfortable winner in a Rethink Research survey of the most important features for LTE-Advanced.

Mobile Experts predict 70 Million small cells by 2017, and has a $5400 report to explain how. Although it’s worth noting they put WiFi, DAS and repeaters in the same category which I think is a mistake. Nonethless, this report seems to have some interesting data in it. 


Additional Details after the break…

Read Full Article →

There is a PCWorld story that is WRONG, mentioning that Airvana is suing Ericsson over femtocell technology. NOT TRUE. The only connection to femtocells is Airvana is suing because they fund their femtocell development (new lilly pad) with software and support fees (old lilly pad) from their EVDO boards installed into (formerly) Nortel CDMA BTS’, and Ericsson decided to reverse engineer their software, developed it, installed it and stopped paying these fees.  That’s it, nothing more than that. Just saying’. 

Links: Airvana, PCWorld









Read Full Article →

 Abi has a new report, for sale, titled “Femtocells” that shows the market signed 88 contracts world wide for femtos, of which 37 operators have launched and this resulted in 2.5m units shipped. An interesting observation is ” Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, and Ubiquisys are closely tied in terms of the top share of contracts. Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent have 27 operator contracts each, while Ubiquisys has 28 contracts through NSN and NEC collectively.

However, the market share of unit shipments looks very different compared to the contract market share. Cisco/ip.access and Airvana/Ericsson are closely tied for top share and collectively represent 55% of the market’s shipment volume. Cisco/ip.access supplies to AT&T and Airvana/Ericsson supplies to Sprint.”

I think the exponential growth is about to start but there is a major change required to get there… stay tuned…


Read Full Article →

 Hello femtocells!

So last week was super busy for me and I was meaning to come back to this announcement that I saw from ip.access. As we all know claims of zillions of femtocells, are like the we’re all going to be choking in wireless data claims that went for like a decade before we stopped rolling our eyes at the iPhone…(and then again maybe only from the rear view mirror), but nonetheless, the calls from these market analysts for 10s of millions of femotocells to be deployed by now have not really happened. I’ve tried to help, I have 2 femtocells at my home, a VZW CDMA/EVDO and ATT WCDMA unit but not so common. So back to the point, ip.access has passed the 500K mark, which is not surprising, to me, but they are sort of claiming the largest femtocell deployments in the world. I can tell you that this is not true but I cannot not tell you more than that. Nonetheless, there it is. 500K unit milestone, they expect 1M in 2012.

 Good job ip.access!

 Links: ip.access,

Read Full Article →

Looks like the US Government is asking Santa for some femtos and WiFI in the Capitol buildings. Since femtos are really the first SON (Self Organizing Network) devices on the market, I had to point out this proposed legislation. Notice they’re not asking for repeaters or DAS. Femtos/wifi makes a lot of sense from a utility perspective yet I just can’t help smirking about the fact that they’re finally fed up with poor inbuilding capacity … and how quickly they break out the pens and checkbooks to fix it.

Senators Snowe, Warner Introduce Legislation to Increase Wireless Coverage

Bill would require federal buildings to install small wireless base stations to free up commercial network capacity

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation requiring the installation of small wireless base stations in all publicly accessible federal buildings in order to increase wireless coverage and free up essential commercial network capacity.

Source: Mark Warner (US Senator) PR

Read Full Article →



Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is the next big thing. In fact, in 24 months, virtually all LTE enabled smart phones will support it. Curious?
Small Cells

Small Cells

Small Cells, previously known as 'femto' or 'pico' cells are possibly a savior to network operators. They offer capacity and coverage to the end user and are inexpensive for the network operator. Why aren't they everywhere?
Public Safety

Public Safety

LTE is and ideal technology for Public Safety use. See Why.