Chapter 24

Picocells, Femtocells and Home eNodeBs

Philippe Godin and Nick Whinnett

24.1 Introduction

The use of small cells is becoming increasingly important due to their ability to provide increased system capacity compared to a homogeneous network of macrocells.1 Small cells can generally be characterized as either picocells (also referred to as hotzone cells), controlled by a pico eNodeB, or femtocells, controlled by a Home eNB (HeNB).

The definitions of picocells and femtocells are somewhat variable, but typically the main differentiating features can be summarized as follows:

  • A pico eNodeB usually controls multiple small cells which are planned by the network operator in a similar way as the macrocells. Picocells are often mounted at low elevation and operate at lower power than the macrocells. A HeNB controls only one cell and is deployed by the customer (the registered owner), usually without planning.
  • Femtocells are typically Closed Subscriber Group (CSG) cells accessible only to a limited group of users; in contrast, picocells are usually open to all users (Open Subscriber Group (OSG)) but may offer preferential treatment to some users, e.g. to the staff of a particular establishment.
  • The transmission power of femtocells is lower, being designed typically to cover a house or apartment. Picocells usually operate with a higher transmission power to cover an enterprise, mall or other hotzone, or simply to extend macrocellular coverage.
  • Femtocells do not necessarily have ...

Get LTE – The UMTS Long Term Evolution From Theory to Practice, Second Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.