Node-H GmbH Demonstrated 10Mbps HSDPA Femtocell
Node-H GmbH has shown its femtocell protocol software delivering sustained high speed data transfer at 10Mbps using off-the-shelf mobile devices. A showcase was presented to key customers at the 2009 Broadband World Forum in Paris. The software was demonstrated on the Percello PRC 6000 platform. See video of the demonstration below.
A femtocell is a tiny cellular access point, suitable for the home or office. It connects to the operator's network through a broadband connection. The operator can offer improved coverage and capacity indoors. Consumers will benefit from excellent mobile coverage indoors, additional services and bandwidth as though they had the whole network to themselves.
Coverage is the initial driver for Femtocell uptake. Femtocells solve the problem that third generation networks operate at high frequencies which have difficulty penetrating buildings. Leading network operators like Vodafone, AT&T and Docomo are already committed to femtocells and operators representing 1.3 billion subscribers are members of the Femto Forum, the industry body which along with the 3GPP has standardized femtocells for worldwide use.
Femtocells offer much more than just coverage. They offer applications for security, home automation, social networking presence, electronic subscriptions and more. The underlying technology of these additional offerings is high speed data. Mobile broadband is the key feature of third generation networks but uptake has been slow. Over the past few years, however, usage has doubled each year due to improved tariffs and the success of the iPhone and similar devices. Demand is rising to the point that daily newspapers comment upon the congestion problems which some operators are experiencing, despite the fact that the consumer market is still largely untapped. The cost of building out additional network infrastructure limits the tariffs that operators can offer.
Currently consumers are suspicious of flat-rate mobile data tariffs because of their expense, usage restrictions and traffic limits, some as low as 300MB. This monthly 'flat-rate' limit can be reached in about 5 minutes at the data rates Node-H is showing. Clearly device capabilities have far outstripped the tariffs being offered by operators. Since femtocell data traffic is essentially free for the operators it is likely that they will offer it for a very low fixed monthly charge. "Consumers will be able to experiment with mobile data applications", says Mike Cronin, CEO of Node-H. "They will be able to find out what works for them, without having to commit to a full data contract first. Many will switch to using their phone instead of a PC for applications like social networking. Some will just use the applications on the femto, but many will upgrade later to a tariff where they can use the applications they enjoy on the full network."
A major concern of the operators is the cost of femtocells. Achieving the $100 price point is essential to mass market adoption of femtocells. "The initial femtocell devices were proprietary and cost in the range $250 to $300. A development cycle started now can be standards compliant for a worldwide market and price erosion and volume means that it can comfortably achieve sub-$100 now. It will go as low as $50 incremental cost for a residential gateway in the near future", says Wolfgang Scheit, CTO of Node-H.
About Node-H GmbH
Node-H GmbH is a pure-play 3GPP femtocell protocol software company. The company's portable Iu-H based protocol software runs to the maximum platform capability on the leading chipset platforms. The high-performance fully integrated software was designed for cost-optimized SoC femtocell platforms to help femtocell and residential gateway manufacturers achieve fast time-to-market with a high-quality solution. Node-H is a member of the Femto Forum. Node-H is privately funded and based in Munich, Germany. For more information about Node-H visit Node-H website.