Femtocell Networks and Architectures

Andrea Giustina

5.1 Introduction

In the last two years, technology has matured enough to make it possible to support a high-performance femtocell on a consumer-priced platform (see Chapter 10). Many leading operators evaluating the coverage, capacity and new services opportunities provided by femtocells at a very effective cost (see Section 1.9) have expressed a strong desire to deploy femtocells rapidly. This has driven a number of telecommunication infrastructure vendors and new players to develop femtocell products.

Femtocells are an extension of the operator network into end-user premises and they present particular architectural challenges that must be overcome in order to enable commercial deployments. Furthermore, the speed of innovation has meant that virtually every femtocell vendor initially developed its own architecture, with many of them utilised in trials and early commercial deployments, posing difficult problems for converging these disparate solutions to industry-level standards.

Luckily there is a lot of common ground between the different architectures, providing a good starting point for such standardisation work, and the Femto Forum has played a pivotal role in bringing the industry players together to define how to best approach standardisation across the main radio network technologies (see Chapter 8).

This chapter first addresses the challenges and requirements of the femto architecture, then defines the common femto ...

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