femtocell

Do any of you have experience with femtocell technology?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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16 Responses to femtocell

  1. Landon says:

    Fr. Z, I have a small amount of experience with femtocell. I’ll try to answer any questions you have, but it depends on the scope.

  2. olmphoto2 says:

    I’m not familair with it. But Wikipedia has a (seeming?) wealth of info at this page (including a lengthy section on issues):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femtocell

  3. Christabel says:

    i have a little experience with both femto and picocell. I work wih people who have lots. Is there something specific you need to know, Father? I may be able to find out.

  4. Is this for mobile Xbox? :-)

  5. Christopher says:

    Father-
    I have the Air Rave from Sprint.

    It seems to work well, you may notice a SLIGHT delay in the call but not as bad as skype or other VOIP services.

    If you have fast internet and bad cell phone service at home or wherever it is an acceptable solution

  6. Mac McLernon says:

    Heheheheh… I thought it sounded like some sort of IVF treatment programme!
    ;-)

  7. olmphoto2 says:

    LOL I thought it might be some new commercial venture into stem cell use.

  8. Thomas Grant says:

    Father, had some experience in the Army with much larger capacity equipment. We experimented with some prototypes supplied by vendors for deployed HQ’s. Helps to eliminate wiring a headquarters that can have as many as 500 subscribers, voice and data. The problem always is the size of the pipeline(bandwidth)out and it’s difficult to meet security requirements.

  9. Ignatiangroupie says:

    Is it a pasta?

  10. PMcGrath says:

    Femtocell? Isn’t that where you can get daily messages from Gloria Steinem directly to your BlackBerry?

    (ducking brickbats)

  11. Matt says:

    A femtocell is very simply a small cellular network repeater (about the size of a wifi router) that uses your internet connection to place and receive a call using your cellular carrier. The femtocell works on the same frequency as your carriers cellular network. This allows your cell phone(s) to receive a strong signal in the area around the femtocell device.

    The range of a femtocell varies, but it is typically similar in range to a wifi router. When your cell phone comes within range of a femotocell it will see it as simply another one of your carrier’s “towers”.

    Depending on the carrier, there can be differences in the services provided by the femtocell. The major differences are:

    - Monthly charge: Some carriers have a monthly charge to enable the femotcell, some do not.
    - Security: Some femtocells allow the owner to configure only certain cell phones to use the femotcell, some allow anyone within range to connect and use your femotcell (and related internet connection)
    - Number of cell phones: The number of cell phones that can connect to a femtocell at any one time differs depending on the device and the carrier. (Some carriers charge a monthly fee for EACH cell phone using the femtocell.
    - Minutes: Depending on your carrier and plan, you may receive unlimited minutes when using your femtocell or you may use your plan minutes. Check ahead of time.
    Data plan: Some femotcells allow your cell phone to access the data network as if it was connected to the carriers cellular network. This allows a blackberry, Treo or other data capable device to sync e-mail and other PIM data while using the femtocell. Some carriers or femtocells do not support this or they support it, but using a slow data technology. For example, many CDMA carriers (Sprint, Verizon, etc.) using EVDO for high speed data on the cellular network. The femtocell however only supports the older, slower 1xRTT service.
    - Location: All femtocells have a GPS receiver in them to determine their current location. You will not be able to use the femtocell outside of it’s carrier’s native country or region. This is required to assure that one carrier’s equipment is not operating in an area where the carrier is not licensed. Cellular carriers license radio frequency spectrum from government agencies for loarge sums of money. This license guarantees the carrier that they will be the only one allowed to use that portion of the radio frequency spectrum. A carrier needs to assure that their femtocells can not be used in areas where they are not licensed. A wifi based SIP, Skype phone or a cell phone with wifi built-in (i.e. PDA phone) are great travel companions when you are overseas. They can connect to free wifi in a hotel or hotspot and be used to make free or low cost calls where a cell phone would be very expensive.
    - Roaming: With most femtocell’s you can roam onto the femtocell from the celluar network, but the reverse is not true. This means when you get out of your car at home and are on a call the cell phone will “roam” onto the femtocell and the call will continue without being dropped. If you are in a conversation that is using the femtocell and get your car to leave, the call will be dropped when you go out of range of the femtocell. This may (should) be fixed in the future depending on the carrier.
    - Cost: Depending on carrier there will be a cost for the femtocell device and possibly a monthly charge.

    Many people do NOT need a femtocell and won’t recoup the cost unless they use their cell phone exclusively (i.e. no home phone) and have weak or no cell phone service in their home.

  12. Matt says:

    Hmm. That did not format properly. Let’s try this again.

    *Monthly charge:* Some carriers have a monthly charge to enable the femotcell, some do not.

    *Security:* Some femtocells allow the owner to configure only certain cell phones to use the femotcell, some allow anyone within range to connect and use your femotcell (and related internet connection)

    *Number of cell phones:* The number of cell phones that can connect to a femtocell at any one time differs depending on the device and the carrier. (Some carriers charge a monthly fee for EACH cell phone using the femtocell.

    *Minutes:* Depending on your carrier and plan, you may receive unlimited minutes when using your femtocell or you may use your plan minutes. Check ahead of time.

    *Data plan:* Some femotcells allow your cell phone to access the data network as if it was connected to the carriers cellular network. This allows a blackberry, Treo or other data capable device to sync e-mail and other PIM data while using the femtocell. Some carriers or femtocells do not support this or they support it, but using a slow data technology. For example, many CDMA carriers (Sprint, Verizon, etc.) using EVDO for high speed data on the cellular network. The femtocell however only supports the older, slower 1xRTT service.

    *Location:* All femtocells have a GPS receiver in them to determine their current location. You will not be able to use the femtocell outside of it’s carrier’s native country or region. This is required to assure that one carrier’s equipment is not operating in an area where the carrier is not licensed. Cellular carriers license radio frequency spectrum from government agencies for loarge sums of money. This license guarantees the carrier that they will be the only one allowed to use that portion of the radio frequency spectrum. A carrier needs to assure that their femtocells can not be used in areas where they are not licensed. A wifi based SIP, Skype phone or a cell phone with wifi built-in (i.e. PDA phone) are great travel companions when you are overseas. They can connect to free wifi in a hotel or hotspot and be used to make free or low cost calls where a cell phone would be very expensive.

    *Roaming:* With most femtocell’s you can roam onto the femtocell from the celluar network, but the reverse is not true. This means when you get out of your car at home and are on a call the cell phone will “roam” onto the femtocell and the call will continue without being dropped. If you are in a conversation that is using the femtocell and get your car to leave, the call will be dropped when you go out of range of the femtocell. This may (should) be fixed in the future depending on the carrier.

    *Cost:* Depending on carrier there will be a cost for the femtocell device and possibly a monthly charge.

  13. Femtocells are a wide topic area in their own right, but could radically
    change the shape of mobile networks over the next 12-18 months. You’ve
    already had good technical comments on what they are and do, so I’d just
    add a few points on why you might want them.

    There are two basic reasons for them:
    1) To solve poor coverage problems in localised areas, such as
    basements, rural homes, dense urban or office environments. They deliver
    high quality voice and data more cheaply and easily than building many more
    large outdoor towers/cellsites.

    2) To offload the high volumes of mobile broadband data traffic that is
    rapidly growing from Blackberrys, Kindles, smartphones and laptops with
    mobile broadband USB sticks.

    Because they use very low transmission power (hence the name femto which
    is extremely small factor) over very short range, battery life, call
    quality and performance are dramatically improved. Typical capacity is
    up to 4 concurrent calls for domestic femtocells, and up to 8 or 16 for
    business/enterprise femtocells.

    I’ve written the (to date) only book on the topic (Femtocell Primer) and
    published a knowledgebase at thinkfemtocell.com which should answer many
    of the questions on the subject.

  14. tzard says:

    Interesting technology. It looks like it uses the Internet to plug the small cell into the cell network. This would be different from bridges (an older technology which is still a viable solution) which extends coverage from a cell tower it can hear.

    One of my plants (manufacturing) uses one of these to get cell coverage since it’s kind of remote. It’s a big unit, but I’ve also seen bridges in the $600 range too. But it’s been a while since I looked into it.

  15. Ann says:

    Does this technology mean that in an area without a tower, that a cellphone could be made to work?

  16. Matt says:

    Yes Ann. That is the intended use. However for most families, unless the cell phone is the only means of voice communication and you have no or extremely weak signal, it will usually never pay for itself.

    The cellular company is essentially using YOUR internet bandwidth to provide ITSELF with better converage. IF the femtocell was a one off purchase (about the same cost as a wifi router or access point) and gave you unlimited use on your cellular phone, it really isn’t a good purchase.

    For business that use large amounts of cell phones for company purposes the femtocell would be a nice addition to provide coverage in areas of a building that normally would not see service. For the average Joe the femtocell is not really worth the money.