Femto Forum Outlines LTE Femtocell Architecture Options as Operator Interest in the Technology Grows
Femtocells improve the LTE business case while also providing the best possible user experience
London, UK – The Femto Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, has published an operator friendly guide to the LTE femtocell architecture options in the 3GPP standard. The guide concludes that operators’ choices will be driven by their existing infrastructure, how quickly they want to roll out femtocells and how widely they plan to deploy them. Femtocells are important for LTE networks as they improve the operator business case, while also providing the best possible user experience. This has been validated with a number of operators recently making positive statements on LTE femtocells.
The report finds that the three femtocell architecture options outlined in the LTE standard comprehensively support a wide variety of operator deployment scenarios. It details exactly what operators need to consider in order to make the most prudent architecture choice, based on their specific business and technology circumstances. It finds that operator choice should be dictated by how quickly they wish to bring a femtocell service to market, their current network architecture and how widely they intend to deploy femtocells in the longer term.
“Femtocells bring powerful benefits to LTE by ensuring that users receive the best possible experience and operators maximise their investment in the new networks. However, for operators planning to roll the technology out, there are several crucial architecture options that they need to get right in order to sweat their assets and deliver the kind of femtocell service that meets their needs,” said Professor Simon Saunders, Chairman of The Femto Forum.“The operator and vendor community in the Femto Forum have examined the LTE standard in detail and this guide for operators firmly establishes the virtues of the different architecture options.”
“LTE femtocell endorsements and trials from operators including China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo and Telefonica point to growing interest,” notes Peter Jarich, Mobile Ecosystem Service Director, with Current Analysis. “Of course, just as LTE requires new network architectures in the macro-cell RAN, operators looking at LTE femtocells need to carefully plan out their small cell architecture.”
The growing interest in LTE femtocells amongst the operator community is being driven by two principal factors as outlined in a Femto Forum whitepaper entitled ‘The Best That LTE Can Be’. Firstly, LTE femtocells provide important performance advantages by ensuring more users receive peak data rates more of the time, both inside buildings where the vast majority of mobile broadband data is consumed and outdoors through metropolitan and rural models. Secondly, femtocells also allow operators to create a more compelling LTE business case as they can considerably lower the delivery cost per bit through significant savings in cell site installation, maintenance and backhaul costs.
The new LTE Femtocell Architecture guide is freely available on the Femto Forum’s whitepaper webpage alongside several LTE reports here – http://www.femtoforum.org/femto/pdfs01.php
About The Femto Forum
Femtocells are low-power wireless access points that operate in licensed spectrum to connect standard mobile devices to a mobile operator’s network using residential DSL or cable broadband connections. The Femto Forum (www.femtoforum.org) has been set up to promote the wide-scale adoption of femtocells. It has 137 members including 63 operators representing more than 1.71 billion mobile subscribers – 33% of the global total. Comprised of mobile operators, telecoms hardware and software vendors, content providers and innovative start-ups, its mission is to advance the development and adoption of small cells via femtocells and broader applications of femto technology for the provision of high-quality 2G/3G/4G coverage and services within the residential, enterprise and public access markets.