3GPP flies femto standard

Standards body 3GPP, in collaboration with industry associations the Femto Forum and the Broadband Forum announced Tuesday the creation of the first femtocell standard. This, the organisations said, will allow for high volume production of standardised femtocells, and ensure interoperability between different vendors’ equipment. Femtocells are low range wireless access points operating in licensed spectrum, using domestic DSL or cable connections.

The new standard, which took just 12 months to complete, will form part of 3GPP’s Release 8. It covers network architecture, radio and interface, femtocell management/provisioning and security.

The standard incorporates the Broadband Forum’s TR-069 management protocol, already in use in fixed broadband networks and set top boxes. Extended to include a new data model for femotocells, TR-069 will enable operators to simplify deployment and enable automated remote provisioning, diagnostics checking and software updates, the organisations said.

“Our operator members have been insistent that the dozens of approaches to
integrating femtocells with mobile operators’ core networks had to be
filtered down to a single standard. This new standard is crucial in turning
the many femtocell operator trials taking place around the world into mass
market commercial deployments,” said Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum.

Femto vendors ip.access and Ubiquisys leapt on the announcement, with ip.access unveiling updates to its Oyster 3G femotcell product, which the firm said took it closer to compliance with the newly released standard. Ubiquisys pledged to be the first vendor to deploy products fully compatible with the standard.

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