4.10 Designing with Pico and Femtocells

The following is merely a short introduction to Pico and femtocells, for more detail about femto cells refer to [9] from which much of the inspiration for this description comes.

4.10.1 What is a Femtocell?

A femtocell is a kind of wireless Access point radiating only a relatively low power that is just enough to cover a typical residential home or small office space (femtocell class1). Unlike a Wi-Fi Access Point the femtocell operates in a licensed spectrum that belongs to one of the licensed mobile operators and has to be connected to that particular network, via a typical backhaul connection provided to the location – this could typically be standard internet DSL transmission – in order to be operational.

Femtocells are normally quite limited in capacity and support only a limited number of voice users and normally have only a relatively limited data bandwidth. However, femtocells are evolving quickly and will soon be available with more data support, and quite possibly combine multiple mobile broadband access technologies within the same unit, for example Wi-Fi with GSM, UMTS or LTE, etc.

Bringing a low cost base station, with somewhat limited RF performance, into a household with multiple transmitting devices, such as Wi-Fi access points, DECT base stations, etc could cause some concern in terms of receiver blocking caused by these other transmitting devices which are in close proximity to the femtocell and are quite possibly transmitting ...

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