Cambridge based ip.access has been named the number one picocell vendor in an independent study by leading technology analysts ABI Research.
Picocells are small cellular base stations used to extend mobile coverage to indoor areas where outdoor signals do not reach, such as offices, shops, aircraft cabins and ships, or to add network capacity in areas with very dense phone usage. ip.access’ nanoGSM is the world’s most deployed picocell solution, providing GSM, GPRS and EDGE coverage and capacity for more than 35 operators across the globe.
ip.access tops the ABI picocell vendor matrix on both the implementation and innovation rankings. The study concludes that ip.access is the ‘dominating force’ in the 2G picocell market – which currently makes up the bulk of worldwide picocell shipments – and is well positioned for the future 3G picocell market based on its established femtocell technology, Oyster 3G.
“The market for picocells is expected to continue growing at a steady pace, but is dependent on how leading picocell vendors like ip.access adapt and innovate next generation picocells with a view to reduce their total cost of ownership,” said Aditya Kaul, Senior Analyst at ABI Research and author of a new report entitled ‘Picocells – Market, Technology and Business Issues; Threats from Super Femtocells; and Opportunities in 3G Markets’.
“The picocell market has grown at a very healthy rate,” said Dr Andy Tiller, VP Marketing at ip.access. “Our nanoGSM picocells pioneered the use of IP backhaul to simplify deployment and reduce operating costs, and we have seen these concepts become widely accepted – not least with the emergence of consumer femtocells.”
According to ABI, the distinction between picocells and femtocells will blur in future. Picocells will adapt to take on femtocell attributes such as self-installation by the end customer – effectively becoming ‘super-femtocells’ with longer range and higher capacity.
“We are in full agreement with ABI’s market prediction and can definitely see a point where it will be possible to deploy a picocell (or ‘super-femtocell’) cost-effectively, even in small businesses,” continued Tiller. “ip.access believes a clear distinction will remain between consumer femtocells and picocells for the enterprise market. In our view, picocells will always be more sophisticated products than consumer grade femtocells and will provide operators greater control over radio planning, fault reporting and performance management.”