Small cells

Femto Shmemto

6:00 PM -- There's a dizzying array of terms for different varieties of femtocells, which has gotten very confusing lately.

First, there's the plain old femtocell, which is fine. But then, there's the super femtocell, enterprise femtocell, metro femtocell, and even picocell or enterprise picocell. I'm confused. So, is a super femtocell really just an enterprise femtocell? And when does an enterprise femtocell become a picocell? And if femtocells are one day deployed outside on the sides of buildings or on lampposts, are they really then very small macro base stations?

I'm probably the only one pondering this state of affairs, but I expect see femtos of all shapes and sizes at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week... whatever they're called. (See MWC 2009 Preview, ip.access Unveils 3G Pico, and SFR Deploys Picos.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

mobileinsider 12/5/2012 | 4:11:54 PM
re: Femto Shmemto Michelle
No offense, but no wonder why you and everyone else who follow the femto developments are confused. The vendors are simply repositioning existing product lines or trying to create a differentiated +Ñroduct category.

Here's my crack at it:

1. Super femtocell: a beefed up picocell product repositioned to take advantage of Femto hype

2. Enterprise femtocell: anything a consumer vendor want it to be...at this point. Place an 'e' in front to existing Femto (Home Node B) and promise up to 8 users some time in the next 18 months and voila`, there's the enterprise femto (regardless of what the enterprise needs from a premise equipment).

3. Enterprise Femto becomes Picocell when a customer want a Pico cell solution and Femto when...you get the drift

4. When is Femto a small macro base stations?
A: It takes more than an AP, AP + Aggreagator to make an outside RAN. Some vendors will attempt to call a small Femto solution a Macro solution when LTE comes around. Scalability is key.

In the meantime, we have to witness Femto and Picocell vendors lobby for airtime and position products based on range, # of active users, time of day and time of month. It will only get worse before it gets better.

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