Never afraid to promote the possibilities for femtocells, Picochip has reduced the technology to a size where it can be manufactured as a USB dongle device. The company, which exhibited the design at last week's CES show, believes it could have significant implications on the cost and flexibility of building a wireless network.
"The last year has shown just how versatile femtocell technology is," said Rupert Baines, VP of marketing at Picochip. "We believe that giving our customers the ability to put a femtocell on a USB dongle enables huge opportunities for Picochip, network equipment suppliers, makers of consumer products and service providers."
According to Baines, the availability of these ultra-small femtocells would allow operators to easily add HSPA+ home base station capabilities to appliances such as residential gateways, cable modems and set-top boxes. The USB femto design could become commercially available within months, suggested the company.
Picochip said that it had been able to design the USB femto following advances in semiconductor packaging and signal processing algorithms along with the advent of USB 3.0. It claims that these and other developments have helped reduce the total component cost of a 3G femtocell to less than US$50.
Picochip also used the CES event to demonstrate other small form factor HSPA+ femtocells targeted for public access use, and picoArray technology that is already involved with 4G services and enabling LTE trials.
- see this Cellular News article
Vodafone slashes femtocell price by 70%
Femtocells: Vodafone sets the pace with European launch
T-Mobile to test femtocell interop - for 6 months