Femtocell / Picocell Gateways
Extending Mobile Network Coverage
Femtocells and Picocells
Femtocells are essentially small footprint, low power 3G wireless radio systems that plug into a residential or business broadband connection to provide a mobile signal directly to that location (indoor coverage for residential/enterprise locations). Mobile phone subscribers can use their existing mobile handsets or broadband air cards to access voice, data, and video needs for a small number of users. Whereas a femtocell can typically service a residential environment with a range of up to 5,000 feet, a picocell is designed to be deployed in larger building and public areas such as shopping malls with a range of up to 30,000 square feet.
Femtocell/picocell environments are designed to deliver a stronger 3G wireless network connection than the mobile network’s own Radio Access Network (RAN) since these wide area networks are prone to attenuation inside buildings and other structures and these locations could also be in a network coverage gap. In fact, about 30% of mobile calls are made at home and coverage holes in these residential areas can be addressed via femtocells.
All femotell/picocell traffic is connected via the mobile subscriber’s wireline broadband network to the mobile core network element called the Femto Gateway (FG). Radisys ATCA products are designed to fulfill this critical function in core 3GPP mobile networks.
Femtocells can be easily subsidized by mobile operators to encourage subscriber substitution of voice minutes from the fixed line phone, which in most cases is provided by a competitive service provider. Femtocells also encourages the adoption of mobile data services by providing faster data speeds and better user experiences inside the home where new services are often tried first. Equally importantly, femtocells allow mobile operators to deliver data services at a very low cost (by offloading the RAN), because the traffic is backhauled to the core network over the household’s existing wireline broadband link.
Femtocell/Picocell Network Architecture
The primary function of a Femtocell Gateway (FGW) is to aggregate femtocell/picocell access point traffic backhauled over fixed line broadband links such as DSL, fiber or cable modem. Security is also a key function of this element as it sits at the edge of the network between public internet and the mobile service provider network. The Femtocell Gateway routes traffic according to service type, voice to the IuCS interface of the mobile core network, and packet data to the IuPS interface. In addition, traffic destined for the Internet may be off-loaded at the gateway to minimize impact on the wireless core network.
The commercially proven, ATCA open hardware specification is designed from the ground up to meet the demanding need of evolving networks and video services with service delivery packaging that provides unparalleled scalability, responsiveness, modularity, and flexibility to meet ever increasing network requirements.
Radisys provides Application Ready ATCA Platforms for Femtocell Gateway. RadiSys offers the broadest portfolio of ATCA products that includes switching, x86 based, packet processing and media processing boards with latest silicon technologies to deliver optimal configurations for Femto Gateway. RadiSys ATCA Application ready platform also includes integrated chassis, OS, diagnostics, system manager, and high availability middleware. This platform can be configured for robust performance for both 10G and 40G technologies.
One can build a femo gateway solution that allow scalability for supporting 20,000 to 500,000 femtocell access points per installation and carrier class reliability with full redundancy using the RadiSys Promentum product line .
Below, is a typical configuration of Femto Gateway using RadiSys Promentum Platform Elements:
Learn more about RadiSys’ application-ready Promentum ATCA platforms and building blocks for this application at: