Section: Application Domains
Femtocells and Fixed-Mobile convergence
Femtocells refer especially to Access Point-like Base Stations, typically designed for residential or small business environments to provide the local users with the broadband connection (such as DSL or cable) to the service provider network. WiFi access points are the most famous examples of femtocells from the classical point of view. Access points currently in use are working with a specific technology which completely differs from the mobile cellular technology. Hence, the roaming between access points and cellular networks is only possible for a mobile terminal equipped with the two appropriate radio interfaces.
Some recent works advocated for the deployment of UMTS based access points to allow a direct roaming between fixed and mobile networks. Such approach is based on the reuse of the radio resource allocated to the cellular network by the access points, providing that the access point is only using free resource and does not interfere with the cellular network. From the cellular system operator point of view, such a solution is very attractive since it will improve both coverage and capacity, especially indoor. There may also be the opportunity for new services and reduced costs triggered by a decrease in both capital expenditure and operating expenses. Femtocells are an alternative to deliver the benefits of Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC). The distinction is that most FMC architectures require a new (dual-mode) handset which works with existing home/enterprise WiFi access points, while a femtocell-based deployment will work with existing handsets but requires the roll-out of new access points.