The Ubiquisys powered residential femtocells have been selected by more mobile operators than any other, according to analyst ABI Research’s 2012 Small Cell report. This is driven by the benefits both for the consumer and the mobile operator, which are as follows:
- Ease of use. Proven plug-and-play for the consumer.
- Low risk option. Field-proven technology – selected for use in more than 30 networks worldwide. Tried, tested and, where needed, customised to work with all 3G phones and dongles.
- Large range of services. Capability options are second to none; driven by innovation and a diverse set of mobile operator needs.
- Low OPEX. High reliability and class-leading diagnostic capabilities – minimising support costs.
- Flexible business model. Allows mobile operators to choose:
- Their preferred system integrator – eg, NSN, NEC, etc. Ubiquisys has the only commercially launched standards-based Iuh femtocell available today.
- Their own product design, and if required their own choice of manufacturer for the femtocell.
- System support. Professional services capabilities tailored to meeting the femtocell system needs of the mobile operator:
- Radio analysis, optimisation and policy implementation.
- Radio Access Network configuration for optimal macro/femtocell symbiosis.
- Core network configuration.
- Design and development service for custom capabilities.
- Femto fleet lifecycle management – in-field secure activation, upgrade, emergency recovery, and re-parenting.
What is a residential femtocell? See our infographic.
Why has Ubiquisys has been so successful with its residential femtocells?
The reason Ubiquisys has been so successful in the residential femtocell market lies at the heart of the company: we focus on innovation to meet the needs of consumers, and the mobile operators that serve them:
- System view. Designing from the start an end-to-end system, satisfying the network needs as well as the femtocells themselves.
- Creating momentum. Founding the Femto Forum (now the Small Cell Forum) to ensure the femto system was standardised, and with a strong ecosystem of vendors focusing on all aspects of the femto system.
- Designing and developing the complete femtocell product:
- Writing all our own femtocell software so that we control, customise, optimise and support the code ourselves. This is fundamental to creating a viable product and is the only way any currently commercial femtocells have been realised.
- Designing and optimising the core hardware for low-cost consumer manufacturers to build and customise.
- Working closely with our SoC (System on Chip) and RF device partners to optimise capabilities and costs.
- Working closely with our world-leading manufacturing partners to ensure the needs of the consumer and mobile operator are met.
- Innovation. Creating an innovative femtocell with in-built intelligence, allowing it to make autonomous decisions on how best to work in its unique environment:
- Dynamically adapting to the femtocell’s radio environment to provide the performance the consumer expects, as well as resolving the interference concerns with the macro network that mobile operators always have.
- Providing the security mechanisms to ensure that privacy and network integrity are not compromised.
- Managing femtocell performance on consumer-grade broadband connections.
- Teaming with the world’s leading system integrators – eg, NSN and NEC – to ensure that mobile operators are provided with a complete turnkey femtocell solution.
- Partnering with leading mobile operators to:
- Champion the concept for the benefit of the consumer.
- Integrate, test and deploy in live mobile networks.
- Provide support on a day-to-day basis, backed up by a world-class team of network and radio experts to ensure that their femtocell rollouts are as seamless as possible.
- Keep innovating to create the new service offerings that consumers demand and mobile operators need in order to stay ahead.
ActiveRadio™ Radio Resource Management
Ubiquisys has developed unique radio resource algorithms, which mean that the unit(s) explore the radio environment to optimise the service provided within the home, while at the same time minimising any possible disruption to the external macro network. These algorithms also enable full plug-and-play for the consumer by providing the ability to activate and upgrade femtocells remotely without affecting service. This can be achieved at a massive scale, meaning that any OPEX burden to the network operator is minimised.
Provisioning and automatic setup. Femtocells are pre-provisioned with basic configuration parameters so they know who they are and who they belong to. Once plugged in at the consumer’s home, operator policies are downloaded and the femtos simply adjust the radio configuration according to local conditions, within these policies. They are then automatically activated in a matter of minutes.
Listen Mode, UL/DL Power Setting. The femto contains a downlink Listen Mode that measures the interference levels of surrounding macro and femto cells. Using Listen Mode, the femto selects the settings for optimal performance for users of the femtocell while minimising the interference to the macro, according to the operator’s policies.
Once installed, the Ubiquisys femto uniquely continues to monitor the radio environment and adapts to any changes it encounters.
- Dynamic Code and Downlink Power Reallocation. The femto supports downlink power reallocation between individual data channels or between data channels and HSDPA. This means that the femto responds to external interference, optimising the user experience.
- Up/Downlink Power Adaptation. The femto initially sets its power levels based on the received signal levels it experiences from the macro network in order to minimise uplink interference, including adjacent channel interference mitigation. These values are then dynamically altered according to the actual levels reported by the end user device through measurement reports.
- Continuous Fast Sniff. The femto uniquely uses an active sniff mode during normal operation to monitor changes in the radio environment – without affecting calls. When there are significant changes to the radio environment – eg, the addition/removal of a neighbouring cell – the femto will adapt its power levels accordingly.
Capabilities for the consumer
The Ubiquisys femtocell supports a broad range of call capabilities that meet or exceed mobile operators' needs for residential femtocells. Equally of importance, all of these capabilities are already used in live commercial networks and, in the process, have been through rigorous testing and optimisation cycles.
Our residential femtocell is optimised equally for voice coverage and data performance in the home. This suits mobile operators targeting coverage-related market segments, and also those who target 3G performance as a selling proposition.
Residential femtocells are increasingly being used in SoHo environments, where users have higher expectations as their business depends on efficient communications to operate. For these segments in particular we also support soft enhancements, including up to 8 simultaneous voice calls, HD Voice (Wide Band AMR), and higher HSPA data rates.
Below is a brief summary of the key call features we support:
- Video calling support
- Supplementary Services Support
- HD voice (WBAMR)
- Emergency Calls
- HSDPA 14.4 Mbps
- HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- Multiple Primary PDP Contexts
- Cell FACH
- Basic Data Rate Adaptation
- Non-Standard UE Profiling & Corrective Actions
- Advanced Data Rate Adaptation (Voice priority).
Macro network interworking
Hand Out. Ubiquisys’ femtocell supports hand out of inter-frequency voice to the 2G (GERAN) or 3G macro network, and hand out of video calls from the femto cell to the 3G macro network only. Mobile operators can specify from their management system the priority of the handover type – and who gets the service.
Cell Stickiness. Once a mobile device is camped on to the femto, the femto will endeavour to keep a device attached to the femtocell layer for as long as possible before hand out to the macro layer.
Automatic Neighbour List Creation. The Ubiquisys femto listens for surrounding 2G and 3G cell sites and creates its own list of neighbouring cells, so mobile phones can seamlessly hand out to the surrounding macro network without costly manual configuration back in the network.
Statistics and diagnostics
The Ubiquisys femtocell acts as a part of the mobile network infrastructure while being an easy to setup and use consumer device. It is configured and provisioned via a standards based TR-069/196 management system, and provides alarms and performance data according to a DSL Forum specification (TR-096).
Initial connection and registration with the HMS (Home NodeB Management System) is done securely, and, once operating, the femto gathers performance management (PM) data over a period of time, placing it into a performance report.
Ubiquisys has developed a highly flexible and comprehensive performance management reporting capability as a result of numerous commercial deployments. For example, the management system has full control over which counters are included in the report, and the frequency at which the metrics are collected, and when the reports are started, stopped, and uploaded.
Core network interfacing
Ubiqusys’ Femto Engine supports three different network interface protocols for connection to femtocell gateways, allowing mobile operators to have the broadest choice of network gateway technologies and suppliers.
- Iuh – Ubiquisys was the first company to have standards-compliant Iuh femtocells deployed commercially.
- GAN – Femto Engine support the GAN protocols plus the extension for femtocell support. This network protocol is used in many commercial networks with active femtocell deployments, in the order of hundreds of thousands of units.
- IMS – Where scalability and cost effectiveness are high priorities, connection directly to an IMS core network, with supporting IMS Femto applications, provides a next generation alternative for operators. This network protocol is commercially deployed, again with hundreds of thousands of units in service.
Broadband connection speeds, as we all know, are variable, so Ubiquisys has built into its femtocell a “measured downstream bandwidth” capability. This is used as one of the bases of its call admission control, managing the services made available to an end user according to the downstream bandwidth available.
For some consumer femtocell deployments, mobile operators have requested “homezone” notification. For example, when a user is in the home an operator may wish to offer an alternative tariff or some service differentiation, and it can be necessary to indicate this to the user. Ubiquisys has built into the femtocell a set of capabilities covering connectivity, voice/video tones and data usage notifications, allowing mobile operators to choose what is best for them.
CloudBase™ Software Delivery and Service Activation. The Ubiquisys activation method means that the femtocell fetches the latest software on activation, and can remotely recover from faults automatically by repeating the activation sequence, or on demand by the management system. This cloud service is delivered by global service delivery partners such as Akamai, Telecity and Flexera.