I’ve been thinking about the way some people are starting to use the term “femtocell” interchangeably with “small cells”. This has prompted a lot of questions, not least because femtocell technology is associated with very small devices in homes and offices, and small cells are thought of as something for public coverage, typically outdoors.
So I talked to Ubiquisys CEO Chris Gilbert about this apparent contradiction, and here’s what he said:
After the video, Chris also had the following to say:
“Femtocells should really be called ‘intelligent cells’.
“Everyone seems to think femtocells are mostly about miniaturisation – making something very big like a mobile base station into something tiny that can be plugged in at home. But now femtocell technology is getting bigger, being used in enterprises and in public spaces, and outdoors. Some of these femtocells have a range have a range of 3km. Confusing.
“So some people are now saying that femtocells, along with older technologies such as picocells and microcells, should all just be called “small cells”. But the dominant characteristic that made residential femtocells possible is intelligence, not miniaturisation. That’s what made them plug-and-play, prevented interference problems and enabled them to form alternative networks.
“So for femtocell think intelligent, not small.”