The Femto Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, has published an operator friendly guide to the LTE femtocell architecture options in the 3GPP standard.
The guide concludes that operators’ choices will be driven by their existing infrastructure, how quickly they want to roll out femtocells and how widely they plan to deploy them.
Femtocells are important for LTE networks as they improve the operator business case, while also providing the best possible user experience. This has been validated with a number of operators recently making positive statements on LTE femtocells.
“Femtocells bring powerful benefits to LTE by ensuring that users receive the best possible experience and operators maximise their investment in the new networks. However, for operators planning to roll the technology out, there are several crucial architecture options that they need to get right in order to sweat their assets and deliver the kind of femtocell service that meets their needs,” said Professor Simon Saunders, Chairman of The Femto Forum.
“The operator and vendor community in the Femto Forum have examined the LTE standard in detail and this guide for operators firmly establishes the virtues of the different architecture options.”
“LTE femtocell endorsements and trials from operators including China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo and Telefonica point to growing interest,” notes Peter Jarich, Mobile Ecosystem Service Director, with Current Analysis. “Of course, just as LTE requires new network architectures in the macro-cell RAN, operators looking at LTE femtocells need to carefully plan out their small cell architecture.”
The growing interest in LTE femtocells amongst the operator community is being driven by two principal factors as outlined in a Femto Forum whitepaper entitled ‘The Best That LTE Can Be’. Firstly, LTE femtocells provide important performance advantages by ensuring more users receive peak data rates more of the time, both inside buildings where the vast majority of mobile broadband data is consumed and outdoors through metropolitan and rural models. Secondly, femtocells also allow operators to create a more compelling LTE business case as they can considerably lower the delivery cost per bit through significant savings in cell site installation, maintenance and backhaul costs.