ComputerWorld – Femtocells held back by technical difficulties.
For those of you who haven’t seen this article, it’s worth reading if just to see how badly informed the interviewee from Ericsson is. He comments:
“The big challenge around femto is partly the spectrum planning and use,” Leins said. “As soon as you introduce a signal [to] noise ratio you start shrinking the cell size, which has the effect of reducing your throughput to customers, and it’s a spiral.”
Femtocells generally are 3G based and therefore use CDMA; a coding scheme designed to work with a frequency reuse of 1 so by design neighbouring cell sites impact signal to noise ratios. This occurs in 3G Macro networks just as it does when 3G microcells, picocells or femtocells are added to a macro overlay network. The key is managed and constructive interference. Large Macro base stations as well as the smaller microcells and picocells achieve this by being manually planned and installed by Mobile Operators to provide coverage and capacity. What is different with femtocells is that they have been designed to continuously monitor their radio environment and adapt their power outputs (and that of the connected mobile phones) so that they can offer service to consumers without the need for skilled Mobile Operator planning/install. Four years ago this was theory. Since them the theory has been successfully proven and deployments of femtocells this year alone will be way over the 1 million mark Worldwide. These deployments are in both dedicated Carrier (dedicated frequencies) and Shared Carrier (shared frequencies with the 3G Macro network).
I am sure Mr Leins is too smart to seriously dismiss femtocells or even question their effectiveness – the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. All the study work required to show their technical effectiveness within existing macro deployments is available from the Femto Forum and 3GPP, not to mention the Vendors that have deployed them. For the practical I would refer Mr Leins to AT&T, Vodafone Group, SoftBank, SFR and many other of his company’s existing customers who have mass market femtocell deployments well underway.
For Australians I’m sure femtocells, whether for Consumers, Enterprises, Metro or Rural deployments, will in time become widespread as they are in so many other countries. We have seen that when it comes to femtocell rollouts, all markets have different competitive pressures and therefore different triggers to start deployments. What has become very clear from the leading markets is that customer demand is high – it’s therefore in the Mobile Operators hands to step up to meeting their customers’ needs.