3GPP standardizes femtos

Telecom Asia Staff
12 Jun 2009

The 3GPP mobile standards group has published the first standards for femtocells, clearing the way for femtos to go mass market.

The new standard will be included with 3GPP\'s Release 8 for LTE, although the femto specs are only for UMTS networks. The 3GPP\'s Release 9 standard, due for ratification sometime early next year, will address LTE femtocells as well as support more advanced functionality for 3G femtocells, according to the Femto Forum, which worked on the standard in cooperation with 3GPP and the Broadband Forum.

The femtocell standard covers four main areas: network architecture, radio and interference aspects, femtocell management/provisioning and security, the latter two of which were finalized at the end of March.

In terms of network architecture, the standard includes the Iu-h standard for connecting femtos over IP to the core network, which re-uses existing 3GPP UMTS protocols and extends them to support high-volume femtocell deployments.

The new standard has adopted the Broadband Forum\'s TR-069 management protocol, which is already widely used in fixed broadband networks and set-top boxes, and will allow mobile operators to simplify deployment and enable automated remote provisioning, diagnostics-checking and software updates, the Femto Forum said in a statement.

The first standards-compliant femtocells are expected to reach street-level by 2010, although Nick Johnson, CTO at femtocell player ip.access, says companies deploying its Oyster 3G femtocells now will be able to upgrade the system to full Iu-h compliance via a software upgrade.

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