Small cells

Femto Plugfest

12:30 PM -- It's a day for milestones for the femtocell market.

On the same day that one femto vendor, Ubiquisys Ltd. , touted a sub-$100 femtocell, the Femto Forum Ltd. announced the completion of the first femto plugfest, which marks a step toward equipment interoperability. (See Ubiquisys Busts $100 Femto Barrier and Forum Plugs Femto Plugfest.)

Price and standardization are two issues that operators have been very demanding about when it comes to femtocells: The little base stations need to cost less than $100 wholesale, and they have to be standardized, in a nutshell. To date, only 10 operators actually have commercial femto services up and running, according to Light Reading Mobile's new report, "Who Does What: Femtocell Services."

The plugfest, conducted with European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) , tested interoperability among femto network gateways, security gateways, femtocell access points, and chipsets to verify the new 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) luh standard, which defines the link between the network gateways and femto access points. The plugfest also tested IPSec/IKEv2 security protocols. (See Femtos Flesh Out Standards, Femto Standard Clears Final Hurdle, and Femtos Prep Plugfest.)

Here are some of the companies that participated: Acme Packet Inc. (Nasdaq: APKT), Airvana Inc. , Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Genband Inc. , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , ip.access Ltd. , Kineto Wireless Inc. , NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), Nokia Networks , Picochip , and Ubiquisys.

Today's femto news shows some progress on price and standards. Now, what about that pesky interference with the macro network?

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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