Femtocells: 3G interference issues can be solved

Operator's concerns about interference between femtocells are unfounded if proper management techniques are implemented corrected, claims a leading technology provider. While European operators have conducted numerous trials and commercial pilots, interference would still seem to be one of the primary reasons (along with unit price) delaying large scale deployments.

According to Rasmus Hellberg, director of technical marketing with Qualcomm, interference between femtocells can be resolved without moving away from agreed standards. "This largely revolves around limiting, or managing, the transmit power of the femtocell and handsets. We have developed the techniques to enable this and do not see interference as being a roadblock to deploying 3G femtocells."

Qualcomm, which has a shareholding in the the femtocell developer ip.access, is only concerned about interference when the density of femtocells becomes extreme, which remains unlikely in the near to mid-term. "If this situation does occur then there will be a need to make changes to the existing standards, accepting that femtocells will be installed by the consumer and therefore not part of any network planning," said Hellberg. 

The situation with respect to LTE femtocells is less clear, although Hellberg claimed interference issues should be expected. "We are convinced that techniques could be developed to cure the problem, and we understand what would need to be done if the issue is encountered," concluded Hellberg.

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