Femtocells-good news on potential interference problems

It is widely accepted that the deployment of femtocells will be a significant factor in driving the future uptake of mobile broadband services. There has been concern however over potential issues of interference between femtocells and the micro/macro networks. These concerns have been largely allayed by a femtocell radio study carried out by The Femto Forum.

The first really good news is that the study found femtocells have the potential to deliver an order of magnitude more capacity than the macro network alone when used in dense deployments, even when occupying the same radio channel as the macrocell. The study also identified a number of solutions that will mitigate any potential interference of the macro network by the femtocells. Effectively this means any interference related barriers to wide scale femtocell deployment have been removed so operators will be able to maximise the capacity benefits offered by femtocells. The simplest way to avoid interference is for the femtocell to utilise a different carrier than the surrounding macro network but the majority of 3G operators do not have sufficient spectrum to make this a practical solution.

The Femto Forum study therefore focused on finding technological solutions for mitigating interference when both the femtocell and macrocell networks share the same carrier. These methods are already being developed for pre-standard femtocell solutions, and Femto Forum members are working to bring them within the standards framework.

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