Femtocell grid promises dramatic cost savings

Having originally developed the system for a mobile operator, femtocell design house Ubiquisys is now offering the technology to other operators with the promise of huge reductions in the cost of ownership compared to DAS, microcell or picocell alternatives.

The company claims its design is based upon a self-organising network of femtocells that automatically work together to serve any size or shape of building with 3G coverage. Ubiquisys claims the cost savings are achieved partly because the system is based on low-cost mass-produced femtocell hardware, but largely by the technology being designed to be self-installed by the customer's IT staff--thereby eliminating the costly radio planning and specialist installation requirements.

The self-organising aspect of the femtocell grid comes from the individual use of cognitive radio by each femto to form themselves into a self-managing grid. The femtocells are said to continuously sense both surrounding macro cells and their femtocell neighbours, and then configure power, frequency and scrambling codes between them to provide an optimum service according to the operator's policy.

Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys, said that the femtocell grid would enable mobile operators to reach vast numbers of SMEs with a cost effective solution for the first time. "But it also scales to provide flexible, modular coverage for organisations of any size. The system promises to be a catalyst for the next generation of converged business communications."

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