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Small cells

Just What Is a Wide-Area Femto, Anyway?

NOON -- The world of femtocell terminology gets more and more confusing by the day. There's everything from plain old home basestations to enterprise femtocells and super-femtos. [Ed. note: They come with a free cape?]

So, when Unstrung saw that Ubiquisys Ltd. had released something called a "wide-area femtocell," we had to wonder what that entailed. The box apparently has a range of five square miles, compared to the few thousand feet that home basestations normally cover. This is what a company spokesman writes:

"The device is still a femtocell in that it has identical hardware to Ubiquisys' existing in-door products, albeit with an external antenna and new software."

Additionally, Ubiquisys say the new box is a femtocell because:
  • It is cost effective to deploy.
  • Unlike picocells and macrocells, it has continuous auto-configuration of its radio, meaning it operates in harmony with surrounding cells.
  • It is a low-power device -- from 10dbm -- that uses standard DSL broadband for backhaul and can form an active self-organizing grid of coverage with neighbouring femtos.
So is there a dividing line where femto ends and macro begins anymore? — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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