& cplSiteName &

3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
6/4/2008
50%
50%

The squabbling over competing 3G femtocell designs is over, as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards body has adopted an official architecture and started work on a new standard for home base stations.

The 3GPP’s aim is to have the new standard completed by the end of this year, which would be a faster outcome than might have been expected, considering that vendors were still duking it out over a common approach just a few weeks ago.

What’s new is the specification for the interface between the Home Node B (HNB), which is 3GPP-speak for femtocell, and the Home Node B Gateway (HNB-GW), which is the 3GPP term for femtocell gateway. The new interface will be called Iu-h and is a blend of existing standards Iu and generic access network (GAN), sometimes referred to as unlicensed mobile access (UMA).

The 3GPP chose the solution backed by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Kineto Wireless Inc. , and its partners Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701). (See Kineto Supports HNB.)

Originally, AlcaLu, Kineto, Motorola, NEC, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Nokia Networks , and others all submitted proposals to the 3GPP for their particular flavors of interface for a feasibility study back in March. Faced with a logjam from so many different proposals, Kineto, Motorola, and NEC joined forces with AlcaLu, and they developed a joint proposal, which was approved at a 3GPP RAN plenary meeting last week.

“The 3GPP has said, ‘go forth and create the standard,’ ” says Steve Shaw, director of marketing at Kineto. “This is good news for us and for the femto community as well. We’re excited because the femto community now has a clear path to a standard.”

All femtocell vendors will have to make changes to their access points and network gateway equipment to match the new standard interface, but AlcaLu, Motorola, NEC, and those that already use Kineto’s GAN approach, such as Ubiquisys Ltd. , will have the least work to do. (See UbiquiSys, Kineto Interoperate, Kineto, Ubiquisys Team, and NEC, Kineto Partner.)

Ubiquisys announced today that it will have products ready that support the new standard by December of this year. (See Ubiquisys Supports Standard.)

“For us, Iu-h is really very close to what we currently do,” says Will Franks, chief technology officer and founder of Ubiquisys. “For us, there will be a relatively small amount of development work… Some will have to compromise more than others.”

The 3GPP also decided that the Home Node B will incorporate Node B capabilities as well as the radio resource management functions of a standard radio network controller (RNC). The Home Node B Gateway, which aggregates traffic from lots of Home Node Bs, will connect to the mobile core using existing standard Iu-cs and Iu-ps interfaces.

This approach is in line with the reference architecture recently agreed upon at the Femto Forum Ltd. , which also has a broader focus to encompass all radio access technologies, including CDMA and WiMax. The Forum played a role in helping to reach a consensus among competing vendors' solutions. (See Vendors Unite on Femtocell Architecture, Femto Forum Tackles Integration, and Cisco, Ericsson Swell Femto Forum Ranks.)

The 3GPP decisions mean that a 3G femtocell standard should be adopted in the near future, which will be a big step toward interoperability between femtocell access points from different vendors and mobile operator networks -- which could help to drive down the cost of the appliances.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
standardsarefun
50%
50%
standardsarefun,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:27 PM
re: 3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard
Michelle, can you please cross check your sources? Looking back over the 3GPP documents it sure seems to me that there is very little of Kineto's original GAN based ideas in the final approach in 3GPP/RAN.

They originally wanted to re-code RANAP into GAN messages but now I see RANAP messages going all the way down to the femto.

Oh, isn't standards making fun!
Michelle Donegan
50%
50%
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:26 PM
re: 3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard
Yes, fun is the word! Thanks for this input. Can you drop me a line at michelle.donegan@lightreading.com? I'd like to follow up with you on this.

Michelle
lrmobile_kampar
50%
50%
lrmobile_kampar,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:25 PM
re: 3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard

It's possible the messaging in the article might be just a little on the strong side :-)

The current 3GPP work item has essentially identified what the solution will look like which is a big step forward, however there is still a lot of specification work to be done to get to the final protocol definition over the next 5 or 6 months.

Nevertheless, it is clear that there are several requirements as proposed by the Alca-Lu/Kineto/NEC/Motorola joint submission that were first realized in GAN and will now be included in the final specification. I'm thinking of areas such as UE and AP Registration with the HNB gateway in particular, as well as the potential addition of Discovery (currently FFS). These features will be supported over the proposed HNBAP layer which is a new concept for those that have not implemented a GAN-style approach previously.

The real story here, though, is that the operator community was adamant a solid femto standard was required ASAP, and that the vendor community responded quickly. That response involved compromise from all parties in various areas of their own proposed solutions to enable operator's to have confidence that things are moving in the right direction.



From The Founder
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Creating Dynamic Networks to Meet Business Needs

5|26|17   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


As enterprises need more dynamic networks, service providers need to deliver on-demand, virtual services to meet those needs. AT&T is creating a networking fabric to mix-and-match SDN technologies for enterprise customers, says Roman Pacewicz, AT&T senior vice president for offer management and service integration, in an interview at Light Reading's
LRTV Interviews
EdgeConneX on Industry Headwinds & Tailwinds

5|26|17   |   2:41   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017, EdgeConneX CTO Don MacNeil discussed the value of partnerships in the digital world.
LRTV Documentaries
4 Steps Toward a Higher Network IQ

5|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, EXFO CEO Philippe Morin explains how sensors and analytics can boost a network's intelligence and enable on-demand customer experiences. Find more BCE 2017 coverage here.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (1) comment


Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.