We see that a UK manufacturer of Femtocells has decided to make an attempt to go direct to the consumer market rather than the usual business model of via the Mobile Carriers.
Hay Systems Ltd have ignored the regular route of making deals with Mobile Carriers in favour of a straight to consumer sale. The problem they have is they will need to get agreement with the carriers to do this and so have launched a website www.femtonow.com where members of the public can register their interest so they can approach carriers with potential numbers of consumers.
The HSL product has the ability to work with any Mobile Carrier, or even multiple Mobile Carriers, over a regular broadband connection. To achieve this HSL needs to do two things: obtain a radio spectrum in which to operate, and integrate into the mobile Carrier’s back end.
We think HSL are going to face a few obstacles, firstly their Femtocell is 2G rather than 3G and every network operator in the UK is moving towards 3G deployment of Femtocells. Secondly the Femtocell is attractive to a Mobile Carrier as it is a way to lock your customer’s onto your network increasing the ‘stickyness’ of contracts so it is unlikely a carrier would encourage technology that allows customers to move easily from network to network.
We wish Hay Systems well and hope they can succeed in this venture.
See the Press release from HSL here.
We have watched the development and deployment of femtocells with interest, to be honest we think the idea is sound but the problem is the implementation and the infrastructure required to support them.
Recently we have seen some announcement s that would seem to point towards femtocells becoming part of LTE deployment rather than trying to make them an adjunct of existing networks, this would seem to make sense both technically and commercially. Motorola has announced it would stop any further development of 3G femtocells, and instead focus on LTE. The company claimed trying to integrate 3G femtocells into an existing networks was troublesome, but for them the opportunity for LTE femtocells looked increasingly attractive.
We will defintely watch this subject with interest.
From time to time when we are installing a mobile GSM or 3G gateway we find some remote sites with poor mobile coverage and it would be useful to know what mobile base stations there arte in the area.
Ofcom provide a very useful site Sitefinder’ Mobile Phone Base Station Database that allows you to put your poscode in and see what base stations there are in your area.
This site has helped us a few times to pick the best provider in an area where coverage is patchy at best.
For Femtocells to gain traction in the marketplace then they need to go mainstream into the high street and sit on shelves along side regualr ADSL routers. Netgear seem to be one of the first to try and make this possible by launching the DVG834GH voice gateway based on Ubiquisys 3G Femtocell technology.
The gateway acts as seven products in one, it combines private mobile base station, ADSL2+ Modem, Router, 10/100 Wired LAN Switch, 802.11g Wireless Access Point, Voice over IP (VoIP), and SPI double firewall.
It will be interesting to see how sales of these as stand alone units will progress as up until now most units are sold as part of a mobile carrier bundle.
For more information have a look here and here.
Next week sees the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and there will be a lot of discussion about LTE or Long Term Evolution and of course this week saw the 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin the man who first realised and discussed the concept of evolution.
So what is LTE ?
LTE or Long Term Evolution is the 4th generation (4G) mobile broadband standard and has been designed to be the successor to the current 2.5G and 3G technologies of GSM/UMTS. Currently it is in development and is considered to be the competitor to WiMAX.
Like WiMAX this technology will provide broadband services wirelessly, but instead of transmitting signals via microwaves, LTE utilizes a radio platform. Users will need an LTE modem to access the network, which will be available in a number of formats such as USB, PCMCIA, or built in to a laptop, of course it will also provide Internet access on mobile phones and PDAs.
This super fast network, which is promising peak download rates of up 100Mbps, will provide an alternative to DSL, cable, satellite, and dial-up Internet, which will be a big boon to people living in areas that aren’t currently serviced by a high-speed network. It will also free people from the burden of having to find a WiFi hot spot when they are on the road – as long as you have an LTE modem, you can connect to the Internet anywhere in the service provider’s coverage area!
- Downlink peak data rates up to 100 Mbps
- Uplink peak data rates up to 50 Mbps
- Reduced latency to 10 msec round trip delay time between user equipment and base station
We are hearing more and more announcements about equipment availability for LTE so it seems that this technology will happen and carriers have a vested interest to deploy it to stave off new WiMAX networks that are under way.
Maybe they could have just called it 4G
We have seen various reports apearing about new developments of indoor 3G repeaters that maybe a viable alternative to Femtocells, the main advantage is that unlike Femtocells they do not need an ADSL circuit to become operational, this will mean they are easier to deploy and so takeup may be quicker. Wireless repeaters have been around for a long time but tend to be used in large indoor spaces such as airports, stations etc and so are designed for multiconversation and would not be cost effective in a home or SOHO environment.
The first report we saw from Coiler Corporation of Taiwan who are an industry leader in the manufacturing of indoor repeaters, it will be introducing the new Atom AT-2200 Residential 3G Repeater at the 2009 Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona from 16th – 19th February.
The deployment of Coiler’s Atom will eliminate expensive site-maintenance costs associated with traditional coverage extension methods for small indoor areas. It also eliminates the need for major network modifications and new rollout strategies required by the deployment of the femtocells. Since, the repeater amplifies off-air signal, there is no need for ADSL connection, which makes the technology especially interesting for the countries where ADSL penetration is low or where access to fixed broadband would require mobile operator to seek a complicated and lengthy commercial solution. The Atom offers a viable coverage solution for the today’s needs of operators, with deployment cost and time both significantly lower than femtocell technology.
See the full story here
We will watch this one with interest as we see other similar products emerging that will help boost the indoor data rates making the deployment of wireless broadband easier and more viable.
It is that time of year when we like to reflect on what has happened during the year and look forward to what will be in 2009. Here in the UK the ‘Credit Crunch’ has dominated the headlines and had an effect on business in all areas and for sure the effect will be felt in 2009 and passibly beyond.
Ignoring the Credit Crunch for now, then 2008 has seen VoIP widely adopted and accepted by businesses and we all need to try and continue this in 2009, where clear savings can be demonstrated then businesses will be looking for for such technology.
Early indications have shown that GSM gateways will be more readily adopted as for the vast majority of businesses really big savings on mobile costs can be demonstrated and remember to talk to us about our ranges from Topex and Teles.
Happy New Year to all our readers and here is to a successful 2009 despite it all
We like to talk about news that could change the marketplace in our industry – well we believe that the launch of the first phone supporting Google’s Opensource Operating System Android is big news. We see lots of phones supporting the Symbian Operating system, Microsoft and various other manufacturer specific well this is the first time we see an Opensource Linux based phone.
T-Mobile have launched the G1 phone manufactured by HTC to the USA market and it shows some of the most advanced capabilities of the Android operating system, by including a touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, accelerated 3D graphics, Wi-Fi and 3G support, GPS and accelerometer. The device won’t have an impressive design and it won’t be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will certainly be able to run a lot of interesting applications.
G1 Google Android Phone
We will be watching to see which other manufacturers will adopt the Android system – it looks as though those currently using Microsoft will be able to move the quickest.
Visit the google Android blog here or visit the unofficial Google System Blogspot here for some useful information on the G1
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 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