HBS: Issues of Management

6:00 PM -- Nope, I'm not taking on Harvard Business School. I'm talking Home Base Stations, a.k.a. "femtocells."

There's one big issue that hasn't yet really been addressed by vendors pushing mini 3G cellular base stations that can be used to bump up bandwidth in the home: How on Earth are carriers supposed to manage these things?

This seems to me to be a key question that could potentially be something that trips the market up before it even gets off the ground. There are a number of radio management issues that we've already seen in hotspot and enterprise WiFi deployments that could apply here and require automated management software to be installed on these boxes, since I doubt carriers will even consider them if they have to be manually controlled.

  • User Error: These little radios will get best coverage if they are close to a window or even installed outdoors; but many users won't be tech-savvy enough to take this onboard. I can imagine some won't understand why their femtocell won't connect in the basement.

  • Interference: If flat-dwellers buy into the mini-3G appliance concept, interference could become a problem as people install multiple units separated by thin apartment walls. This is going to require spectrum management software that can strengthen or weaken radio signals and swap channels so that nearby units don't interfere with each other.

  • Security: Cellular has typically been seen as more secure than WiFi -- but putting affordable 3G radios in the hands of potential hackers could open a whole new world of security issues unless the boxes are well protected. We've seen all kinds of sneaky hacks and attacks over WiFi hotspots; so why not their cellular equivalent?

    I'll be trying to dig deeper into these issues at the 3GSM show in Barcelona next week and over the course of the next few months. I'd appreciate any comments or experience that readers have on these management issues.

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

  • joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:14:16 PM
    re: HBS: Issues of Management Not really, sorry, still more rah-rah than brass tacks. Rest assured though, as soon as I have hard data I'll write it up.

    takayoshi3 12/5/2012 | 3:14:16 PM
    re: HBS: Issues of Management Hi Dan,

    Anything new with your insight for this topic after 3GSM in Barcelona last week?
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