Life Before Femtocells?

You might have lived without femtocells (small cells I mean) until now, but not anymore. What started as a solution for indoor coverage and evolved into the debate of BoM cost vs useful applications has certainly come a long way. The HetNet is now widely accepted as the future of wireless networks, and small cells have evolved into an answer for not only coverage but the capacity crunch as well.

The turning point came when number of deployed 3G femtocells surpassed the number of 3G macrocells. So what is next for the small cells?

In coming years, what will be popping up will be indoor as well as outdoor small cells, catering to increasing data traffic in the residential setting (closed group FAPs) and also the indoor or outdoor open access small cells strategically placed in an enterprise or commercial setting. The global mobile industry is making a choice between HSPA, LTE and other radio access technology (CDMA2K, Wi-Fi).  While HSPA data speeds are catching up with LTE, LTE is transitioning towards voice over packets and value added services over all IP networks, and Wi-Fi is still a “go-to” for indoor access, offering indoor offload relief for 3G/4G networks. For the end user, though, what matters is still the best user experience.

On one hand, some operators will not give way to new technology (be it LTE or LTE-A) until they have recouped their investment in the old one, others will not like to miss out on riding the new wave with LTE/ LTE-A.

The question, then, is “how will the users and operators have it all, desired data throughput along with uninterrupted voice, coverage and access- indoor and also on the go while addressing the capacity add on that operators desire?”

Stay tuned to my next blog for the answer to this tricky question!

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