Femto Forum Launches Program for Femtocell Network Integration

The Femto Forum, the independent industry association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, has launched a programme to help harmonise the integration of femtocells into mobile core networks. Operator demand to launch femtocells quickly has led to the development of many different methods for integrating potentially millions of femtocells into the network core. Although this is not holding up the commercial deployment of femtocells, this programme will help unite these different approaches in the longer term and set the stage for the development of future standards.

At the Femto Forum’s next plenary in March 2008, a variety of approaches to femtocell network integration will be put forward by members. Synergies between the approaches will be identified and the Femto Forum will provide a framework within which consensus can be built around similar approaches.

This will enable vendors to respond quickly to operator demands for interoperability, and will provide a platform from which members can advance the best approaches into the relevant standards bodies – the Femto Forum is not itself a standards making body.

The Forum has already agreed a reference architecture which will be used to provide a consistent basis for comparison between the different network integration options. A set of ‘hot topics’ – criteria that any integration method must meet in order to satisfy operator requirements – has also been agreed, including scalability and multi-vendor support.

“Femtocells have got off to a flying start and more deployments will take place in the near future but it is crucial that all the players in the market begin to plan together for the longer term. Operators have been vocal about their desire for a more unified approach to femtocell network integration as the scale of deployments increases. This programme represents the first time the femtocell community has come together to forge a future technology path through consensus,” said Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Femto Forum. “This conjoined approach will not only encourage interoperability and increase economies of scale thereby helping keep costs low, but it will also help to support far-reaching new femtocell applications.”

In other news the forum also welcomes new members who are already active in the working groups, these include: Acme Packet, AudioCodes, BT, Cellcom Israel Ltd, Cisco, Ericsson, GENBAND, Huawei, KTL, mobilkom austria AG, NewStep Networks, NXP Semiconductors, Samsung, SaskTel, SOFTBANK MOBILE, Telecom Italia and Vodafone. This brings the forum’s membership to 58 companies which include many of the world’s largest telecoms companies as well as the smaller innovative players in the femtocell sector. A full list of members is available on the Femto Forum website.

About The Femto Forum
Femtocells are low-power wireless access points that operate in licensed spectrum to connect standard mobile devices to a mobile operator’s network using residential DSL or cable broadband connections. The Femto Forum (www.femtoforum.org) has been set up to promote the wide-scale adoption of femtocells. The Forum will support and drive the adoption of industry wide standards and common architectures to enable the widespread adoption & deployment of femtocells by operators around the world. It will direct and implement a multi-faceted marketing campaign to raise the profile, drive technology development & deployment and to promote the potential of femto solutions among industry stakeholders, journalists, analysts, regulators, special interest groups, standards bodies and consumers.