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Femtocell, picocell tech to push LTE deployment

Posted: 12 Jul 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE? femtocell? picocell? macrocell?

According to a research by Frost & Sullivan, femtocell- and picocell-based solutions will form the core of LTE deployment strategies. The enhanced profile of femtocell and picocell has created the concept of small cell for the integration of femtocell/picocell and macrocell solutions. These integrated solutions can offer LTE network service providers faster returns on their infrastructure investments.

Femtocells and picocells
A femtocell is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in a home or small business. It connects to the service provider's network via broadband (such as DSL or cable).

In cellular networks, picocells provide coverage and capacity in areas difficult or expensive to reach using the more traditional macrocell approach.

Sophisticated femtozone applications, such as home monitoring, will also enable providers to differentiate their services and solutions from other providers, thus driving revenues. Another boost for the LTE market will be from publishing of request for proposals (RFP) for enterprise deployments. These deployments will start in the small office/home office or small medium businesses (SMB).

The adoption of femtocell and picocell will also be able to solve continuous coverage and capacity issues of LTE deployments. Mobile usage has exploded, especially in the past two years. However, building macrocells is quite expensive. Service suppliers are now focusing on using picocells to deliver the needed speeds to certain markets. "The competition from integrated macrocell and picocell vendors is a challenge to vendors that lack macrocell solutions," said an analyst from Frost & Sullivan. "Nevertheless, there is immense scope for vendors to differentiate their solution, especially with regard to femtozone applications and enterprise solutions."

But still expect some competition from integrated solutions. Integrated femtocell and DSL devices are not likely to be as advanced as standalone femtocell devices currently available. However, they meet the existing requirements and these devices can evolve to compete more effectively with other standalone femtocell devices.

Femtozone applications
Femtozone applications use key attributes such as location and presence to trigger applications embedded on a mobile device, in the access point, the core gateway or in the cloud. More on femtozone applications.

Frost & Sullivan said, regional vendors also have their advantages in the intensely competitive market. ZyXel Communication Corp. and Askey Computer Corp. are key examples of regional vendors that are able to address regional requirements. They also work closely with service providers to adapt their solution. "As service provider requirements continue to grow and evolve, especially in the enterprise market, vendors need to respond proactively them," noted the analyst. "For example, the implementation of self-optimized network (SON) is not just about zero-touch implementation but also about end-to-end integration and interfacing with service providers' back office systems." Vendors can offer end-to-end solutions and compete on the basis of strong product differentiation, while ecosystem partnerships will enable them to proactively address evolving customer requirements and new revenue opportunities.

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