Netgear Gateway Goes Femto
The Netgear Femtocell Voice Gateway, as it is rather unfortunately named, incorporates an ADSL2+ modem, 802.11g WiFi access point, 3G femtocell, as well as VOIP, a double firewall, and a four-port Ethernet switch (as pictured below).
"This is our first product release in the mobile infrastructure space," says Bob Burke, head of service provider product marketing at Netgear. "For us, it's a major step in a new market." (See Netgear Feels Out Femto.)
But for the fledgling femtocell market, this is the first product that can take the home base station business case beyond improving indoor coverage to offering compelling networked services in the home. As an integrated gateway, it incorporates the 3G cellular network into the home networking environment for the first time. (See Femto Players Gun for Gateways.)
That's why the "voice gateway" moniker doesn't quite fit the product's potential. And it appears that Light Reading is not the first to question the product's name.
"I've heard enough... I think we should do something," says Burke. "We may have a revision... The next model will be something different."
But, what's in a name, anyway? The point is the product is now ready for operators to evaluate and will be demonstrated in Barcelona next week, after the two companies announced their collaboration in June last year. The product will be commercially available in the first half of this year. (See Netgear, Ubiquisys Team.)
Unstrung has reported that Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is interested in an integrated femtocell gateway and has selected ip.access Ltd. and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) after issuing an RFP last year. But SFR -- of which Vodafone owns 43.9 percent -- is understood to be testing equipment from Ubiquisys. (See Vodafone Picks Femto Vendors, Vodafone CEO Seeks Cheap Femtos, 3G & WiMax Femtocells: The Operator View, UbiquiSys Gets Google Boost, Ubiquisys Ramps Up Production, Femtocells & Me, and Femtocell Startup Pockets $25M.)
Netgear and Ubiquisys aren't the only gateway and femto firms to get cozy recently. Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) has partnerships with ip.access and Nokia Networks , while femtocell startup Tatara Systems Inc. has teamed with NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701). (See Thomson, IP.access Team, Thomson, NSN Team, and NEC Teams With Tatara.)
And some of the world's largest operators are interested in the tiny home base stations, most notably SoftBank Corp. and Vodafone, but also AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Orange France , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), T-Mobile International AG , Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), and Telefónica Europe plc (O2) . (See Femtocells Brace for Big 2008, T-Mobile Trials Femtos, Sprint Goes Femto, Is AT&T Putting Out Femto Feelers?, FT Preps Femtocell RFP, and Softbank Trials Femtocell.)
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung