Light Reading

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.



Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Charter Plans Business Services, Wireless Push
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/27/2015
Will Carriers Follow Facebook's Networking Lead?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
Cats with Phones