We are seeing these mentioned in the press a lot so decided to do some research so lets ask and answer a few questions about them:
What is a Femtocell?
A Femtocell was originally known as an Access Point Base Station and is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in the home or small business environments (SOHO). It is designed to connect to the service provider’s network via broadband (usually DSL), the current designs under development will support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting.
A Femtocell allows service providers to extend service coverage indoors, especially where access could otherwise be limited or unavailable. The Femtocell incorporates the functionality of a typical base station but extends it to allow a simpler, self contained deployment.
What are the Advantages of a Femtocell?
Femtocells are an another way to deliver the benefits of Fixed Mobile Convergence. The main difference is that most FMC architectures require a dual-mode (GSM/3G and WiFi) handset, while a femtocell-based deployment will work with the users current mobile handsets. The cellular operator also benefits from the improved capacity and coverage but also can reduce both capital expenditure and operating expense. There could also be an opportunity for new services and reduced costs.
When can we Expect to See Them in Use?
A lot of the carriers here in the UK and around the world are testing units and/or running trials – there are a lot of technical challenges facing the service providers as they will have to operate their networks in a completely different way plus it is vital that the Femtocells are pllug and play so users can buy them and simply plug them in at home.
For more information visit the Femtocell Forum http://www.femtoforum.org/femto/index.php
We talk a lot about VoIP Security not because we want to sell you products but because it is an important and interesting subject. We see that a public hacking warning group has found a large security flaw in the web interface of Snom VoIP phones. The Snom phone is very popular with IP telephony business users and has a web interface to enable users to make calls and manage their phone.
gnucitizen.org highlights some of the easy to do breaches. These include makiing arbitary calls via the Web interface, stealing the phone history from the logs, poisoning the address book and the most serious flaw, monitoring the victim by making a phone call to the attacker’s number (at their expense).
The gnucitizen.org group are a responsible group and they are publishing methods of how to make your Snom phone more secure and contacting Snom and their distributors to explain the flaws.
While this article highlights Snom phones it is entirely possible that many other phones have similar problems so watch this space.
Read their post here
We see that BT have taken a decision to drop their Fusion FMC Solution, it was first launched in 2005 and was a really innovative offering for a Telco however BT has now dropped the Fusion FMC solution. The company had initially stated that it expected Fusion would generate around £1 billion from new mobile and convergence services within five years, instead only around 45,000 people have subscribed to date (not the millions expected) and the company has now stopped promoting the service.
The solution was designed so that users could make cheap or free calls using the Fusion handset at home over BT broadband, and switch to the Vodafone network or BT’s WiFi hotspots outside. However, the concept seems to have proven too challenging for potential users to grasp.
This is a real shame as this service really promoted the FMC concept but I guess domestic users really did not grasp the benefits offered.
We saw an interesting article over on the Inquirer stating that VoIP calls struggle to convey humour.
The problem is the range of frequencies used by regular land line telephones is far wider beacause VoIP calls use compression such as G729. The top and bottom end of the spectrums are cut off, and there is far less variation in tone available on Internet Telephony systems.
The variation in vocal tones gives human communication its many nuances. You can call someone a fool, but make it sound like you’re joking, by raising the pitch of your voice. When we joke, we go to a higher pitch and the human voice has a frequency spectrum from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz, with Voice over IP compression a lot of that range is lost.
So if you try even the most harmless dig at your colleague on an IP telephony call, all human warmth is lost, and you end up delivering the gravest insult possible, in a flat sneery sarcastic tone. So there you have it – Internet telephony is bad for communications
View the article here