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3G/HSPA

Sniffer Femtos

2:35 PM -- Femtocells just got a bit more sophisticated since Picochip took the wraps off a new set of femtocell reference designs with integrated "sniffer" or "network listen" capabilities.

The three new designs enable femtocells to detect WCDMA, GSM, and TD-SCDMA networks respectively. This is important for automating certain network provisioning and interference management functions for the home base stations.

The sniffer capability is needed to automate cell planning, synchronization, and handover within networks. So the new designs will make it easier for femto vendors to develop interference management and self-configuration techniques, which will make it easier for operators to deploy and provision femtocells.

Operators will also want this kind of sniffer capability to deploy self-organizing networks, which is what Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has in mind for its vision of metro femtos or "metrozone" deployment scenario. (See Vodafone Dreams of Metro Femto.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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