Femtocell Standards and Industry Groups

Simon Saunders

8.1 The Importance of Standards

All femtocells are rooted in standards. Their ability to provide services to the huge installed base of legacy mobile devices with no change implies full support for the existing standards over the air. This enables both rapid introduction to a very large number of customers and the ability to make use of well-proven standards to enable full mobility and access to a wide range of existing services.

However, there is additionally a compelling need for evolutions of existing standards to provide specific support for femtocells. There is a variety of motivations for such standards:

  • Existing standards for macrocell deployments may not be efficient for cost-effective femtocell implementation.
  • One standard can support many ‘standard’ approaches, which may not allow interoperability and therefore make system integration difficult and costly for operators.
  • Each operator network may desire to implement femtocells from many vendors, in a similar fashion to the way mobiles are supplied. This makes it important that, for example, a single femto gateway can support femtocells from multiple vendors in a standards-based manner.
  • Standards allow products from multiple vendors to be compared and assessed in a like-for-like manner, allowing operators to procure efficiently and for vendors to deliver products to a much wider market, reducing or avoiding operator-specific customisation costs where possible.

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