Light Reading
Femto Forum members agree on a common femtocell architecture and plan to submit specification proposals to standards bodies next week

Vendors Unite on Femtocell Architecture

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
5/21/2008
50%
50%

The Femto Forum Ltd. says its members have reached a consensus on the way femtocells should interact with mobile core networks, an agreement that should speed up the creation and adoption of femtocell standards. (See Femto Forum Touts Progress.)

Femtocell vendors are meeting this week to hammer out the finer details of the agreed interfaces, with plans to send submissions as early as next week to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) , where there are already three work items in progress related to the tiny home base stations.

Given the aggressive schedule set by the Forum and its members, it's expected that a femtocell standard can be completed in "months."

The resulting standard, once implemented, should, in theory, enable any standards-based femtocell to be integrated into any mobile operator's network and femtocell gateway product, and that will ultimately lead to more product choice for consumers.

By agreeing on the interfaces, the Forum believes it has removed one of the barriers that have discouraged some operators from making the leap from trial to soft commercial launches.

"We've enabled operators to move forward faster on their deployments," says Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum. "For many operators, until they have a clear path toward standardization, they won’t take that first deployment step. So we’ve set out a roadmap, and now more operators are willing to take that step."

Saunders described the agreement as a "no compromise situation." And the speed at which the femtocell vendors, which only announced their intentions to define a common architecture in January, reached a consensus is impressive, considering there are about 15 different ways to integrate home base stations into mobile core networks. (See Femto Forum Tackles Integration and Cisco, Ericsson Swell Femto Forum Ranks.)

According to Unstrung sources, the Forum's operator members had a big hand in driving through an agreement, which indicates just how committed carriers are to deploying home base stations, and how critical standardization and interoperability are for those deployments. (See Softbank Trials Femtocell, Is AT&T Putting Out Femto Feelers?, Vodafone CEO Seeks Cheap Femtos, FT Preps Femtocell RFP, Sprint Goes Femto, TeliaSonera Preps Femto Trial, Vodafone Eyes Femto Service This Year, Verizon Checks Out Femtos, Vodafone, O2 Test Femtocells, and Ukrainians Fancy Femtocells.)

The Forum has agreed that the interface between the femtocell access point and the femtocell gateway -– which the Forum refers to as the "Fa interface" -- will be a modified Iu interface. Saunders says this week's meetings will help determine which flavor of "femto Iu" will be modified: For example, unlicensed mobile access (UMA) is one flavor of an Iu interface.

The Forum has also adopted a "collapsed" architecture, where the NodeB and radio network controller (RNC) functionality will be placed in the femtocell access point, which will optimize signaling over the broadband connection.

"The femtocell is more like a network in a box... it will have a lot of intelligence in it," says Saunders. "It's what operators have been used to having."

None of vendors use a modified Iu approach right now, which means all the suppliers will have to make changes to their equipment. The time it takes for standards-based commercial products to be available from the completion of a standard is generally about 18 to 24 months.

"If we all have to move a bit, that's OK, it's for the better of the industry," says Andy Tiller, vice president of marketing at ip.access Ltd.

The Forum also announced it has established cooperation agreements with the Broadband Forum , to work on service provisioning issues, and the GSM Association (GSMA) . The Forum also added 19 new members, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA), Nortel Networks Ltd. , SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN), T-Mobile International AG , and T-Mobile US Inc. .

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Microgenesis on Huawei's Switches

9|19|14   |   3:57   |   (0) comments


Microgenesis is a solutions and system integrator company in the Philippines whose areas of expertise include data centers, networking and security products. In this video, Executive Director Jeffrey Choa talks to us about his customers needs and they benefit from using Huawei switches.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (1) comment


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Photos: Qualcomm Takes Over San Francisco
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/19/2014
NFV & The Data Center: Top 10 Takeaways
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/18/2014
New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/16/2014
Pics: LR's Women in Telecom Breakfast
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/16/2014
North KC Says Free Gigabit for All
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed