Femtocells to challenge VoWLAN

We have been writing about femtocell technology as a potential serious challenger to VoWLAN, and it is good to see that Strategy Analytics, a Boston-based research firm, is taking a similar view. Shortly before the holidays, it published a report entitled "Femtocells Enabled by picoChip to Square Off Against VoFi," which says that low-cost femtocells will emerge as an attractive alternative to VoIP-over-WiFi in future homes.

The reasons outline femtocell's bright future: Strategy Analytics' Chris Taylor says: "We believe that femtocells will attract wireless operators and consumers alike. However, the bill of materials for femtocells will have to fall close to that of cell phones that include Wi-Fi chipsets for femtocells to really take off." The research firm's Asif Anwar says: "The handset market shows that GaAs can compete against silicon technologies on cost, but the low transmit power of femtocells suggests that this market will probably use SiGe and LDMOS transistor-based PAs initially, eventually shifting to transceivers with on-chip CMOS PAs."

Bath, UK-based picoChip has developed baseband processors for low-cost femtocell basestations that can be installed in the home. These femtocells hold the promise of reducing the demand for WiFi-enabled cell phones. The kicker? Everyone predicts that WiFi-enabled cell phones will sweep the market during the coming years to support the convergence of fixed and mobile communications. What will the emergence of femtocells do to this trend?

For more on femtocells' challenge to VoWLAN:
- see this Electronic Engineering Times report

For more on picoChip's femtocell technology
- see picoChip's Web page