Femtocell Technology Put Through its Paces at Plugfest
Vendor community comes together at ETSI to verify the latest 3GPP femtocell standard and facilitate further deployments
London, UK – 29 June 2011 – The Femto Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, today announced it has successfully completed its third plugfest which this time focused on the 3GPP release 9 femtocell standard. It surpassed previous plugfests by undertaking true end-to-end testing using a real macro network to test hand-over between femtocells and surrounding base stations, as well as using France Telecom’s core network to test femtocell integration. The series of plugfests aim to cultivate an effective ecosystem of standardised femtocells. This helps provide operators and consumers with a wider choice of femtocell products, while also facilitating economies of scale which help bring down the cost of equipment.
The plugfest had widespread vendor support with 13 companies participating, including vendors of network equipment and femtocell access points as well as component providers.
It was organized in cooperation with ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute), the technical support of France Telecom and overseen by testing and compliance consultancy TRaC Global. The primary objective of the plugfest, organized as an ETSI Plugtests™ interoperability testing event, was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the 3GPP femtocell standard in supporting interoperability between femtocell access points and network equipment from different vendors.
“The plugfest series has been crucial in helping create the current environment in which femtocell deployments are growing remarkably. They provide operators and end-users with the widest possible technology options while also driving economies of scale, thereby helping to reduce equipment costs and increase deployments,” said Karim Sharf, Chair of the Femto Forum’s IOT SIG and CTO – Telecoms at TRaC Global. “This plugfest has featured the most rigorous testing so far by replicating real network scenarios”.
Interoperability tests were conducted between femtocell network gateways, security gateways, management systems femtocell access points and chipsets to verify 3GPP’s Iuh interface, as defined in the Release 9 series of specifications. 3GPP’s Release 9 femtocell standard was published in April 2010, and defines the secure interface between femtocell access points and femtocell gateways in the core network.
The companies involved were Ablaze Wireless, Alcatel-Lucent, Alpha Networks Inc., Askey Computer Corporation, Cisco, Continuous Computing, France Telecom, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ip.access Ltd., NEC Europe Ltd., Node-H GmbH, Nokia Siemens Networks Oy and Picochip.
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.