Business, Hardware

Chinese push femtocell technology

Not wanting to be left out of an emerging market, the Chinese hosted what they tout as the first femtocell event in China. The China Femtocell Symposium took place on October 15th, 2009 in Beijing. Sponsors and speakers came from well-known names in the industry to drum up excitement for this segment of the mobile industry.

FemtoForum - Driving Convergence Worldwide logoCurrently, three national service providers for fixed line and mobile networks exist in China: China Mobile with GSM and TD-SCDMA, the Chinese version of 3G; China Telcom, a fixed line provider with CDMA, and China Unicom with both UMTS and GSM which began offering Apple?s iPhone this month.

A stated purpose of the event was to bring the latest news about worldwide femtocell technology to Chinese industry, their government and carriers within China. One intent was to provide a demonstration venue, with strong emphasis on Femto Forum members. There is not much available about the, apparently local, proceedings, but it is said that products demonstrated at the symposium included 3G UMTS and 3G TDD-SCDMA.

Sponsors included industry influencers, IEEE,  CCSA, and ITU, a United Nations agency which coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, and works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world. We can thank the agency for establishing worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a wide range of communications systems, and attempts at strengthening cyber security.

Industry sponsors included Huawei, a provider of global telecom solutions, and Airvana, which has been involved in mobile broadband concepts for nine-years. Their products revolve around high-performance technology, specifically femtocell and convergence solutions. They provide macro radio access infrastructure, which will be important across China?s diverse geography. Rakon, based in New Zealand, and rumored to be expanding into China, threw their sponsorship into the Symposium. They develop frequency control solutions, involving crystal and oscillator technology for GPS, and telecommunications network timing/synchronization. The first to develop the 0.5pmm TCXO, Rakon claims to provide ultra-stable TCXOs and low-cost SMD OCXOs guaranteeing holdover from 24 hours to 12 days.

Sponsors also sent speakers to hawk their wares to the Chinese. Todd Mersch from Trillium Protocol Software at Continuous Computing, oversees products ranging from LTE, femtocell, IMS, to 3G/4G wireless. George Huang, currently Airvana Managing Director, Greater China, draws on a broad background which gives him insight into doing business across the world. He has been with McCaw cellular, and in Engineering/Operations in Israel, as well as directing marketing and sales for Nortel Networks in Brazil, Taiwan and China.

Femtocell principle by picoChip, one of Femtocell leaders
If you wondered how a Femtocell works, here’s an overview by picoChip, one of leaders in Femtocell tech

Rupert Baines, Vice President of Marketing at picoChip, and a board member of the Femto Forum, is responsible for picoChip?s pioneering approach to the femtocell market. His bio at the Symposium notes that he has often been credited with coining the term that is now a buzz word in the industry – "femtocell."

picoChip Designs, Ltd won the 2009 Femtocell Industry Award given by the independent  industry association, Femto Forum, in the category for enabling technology which includes the likes of components, subsystems, and modules. They won for their picoXcell? PC302 SoC. Their optimized system-on-chip, supports the 3GPP’s new femtocell standard, representing five years of femtocell experience, comprehensive interoperability testing and numerous real-world deployments.,

Back in 2006, Baines was quoted as saying: "What we have done traditionally with cellular is the equivalent of putting a flood light at the end of the street so that you can use the light from it to read in your living room.? At the same time John Smrstik, DSP marketing manager for Texas Instruments, predicted, ?The form factor for base station is no longer static. A femtocell could be how a cable company does wireless in the home. It’s a trend worth watching."  Well, sir, the Chinese are watching.