Saturday, 11 June 2011 01:42

Femtocell technology becoming a must-have in disaster areas

By Annemarie Roodbol

Thai Telecoms operator TOT says it has had great success with femtocells as an alternative to reestablishing telecommunication services in disaster areas and immediately providing mobile services to affected people. TOT is one of more than 20 major global telecom operators that will report back on femtocell trials and deployments at the annual Femtocells World Summit in London from 21-23 June, organised by Avren Events in exclusive partnership with the Femto Forum.

Femtocell a quick and flexible solution
Jesada Sivaraks, a TOT engineer, says as a new entrant in Thailand's mobile business, deploying and expanding TOT's coverage area would take time and a lot of budget.  "Subsequently", he says, "it may make it harder than other mobilecos to upgrade their 2G network to 3G network.  For TOT, in-building coverage is very important. For this reason, femtocell is seen as a quick and flexible interim solution to deploy in-building solutions due to their simple installation."

Sivaraks continues:  "Alternatively, we may use femtocells to bundle with our fixed line product such as ADSL, FTTx to differentiate our services from the competition."

Disaster relief
TOT has had great success in using femtocells in disaster areas.  As recently as April this year, floods in Thailand affected two million people and forced more than 40,000 to flee their homes.

Says Jesada Sivaraks:  "we had great success in using femtocells as an alternative to reestablishing telecommunication services such through a GSM femtocell, using IPstar's satellite backhaul to provide the communities in a flooded area with immediate service, given that most macrocells are offline due to power cuts, sometimes for several days. People find relief and confort when they are able to communicate with their friends and family.  Like in the past, the cooperation between TOT, AIS and Thaicom has been key."

Femtocells offer a range of practical telecoms roles
The TOT engineer feels that Femtocells can bring some improvement and a new direction to the company and offer a range of practical roles in the telecommunications business.  He explains:  "femtocell's quick and flexible installation allows us to use them in many different ways.  We expect that femtocells will evolve for multi-spectrum and support multi-technology such as GSM, 3G and WiFi.  Moreover, we need femtocells to be able to support various kinds of backhaul such as point-to-point WiFi, Fiber modem and multipoint microwave."

Jesada Sivaraks will speak at the Femtocells World Summit on "The Applications of Femtocells with Satellite Backhaul and their Role in Disaster Relief".

More confirmed global telecom operators in the programme include:  Vodafone, Comcast, Telefonica O2, Verizon, UMobile, Megafon, NNT DoCoMo, Telecom Italia, Network Norway, SK telecom, MTS, Colt, Wind and Mosaic Telecom.

More highlights from the Femtocells World Summit programme:

* An Operator's Perspective on the First Femtocell Deployment in Greece
-  Dr. Polychronis Tzerefos - New Products, Innovation and Wholesale Group Product Manager, Vodafone Greece
* Femtocell perspectives in Russia: Success factors and barriers
-  Alexey Alekseev - Project Director, Convergence Products, MTS Russia
* Femtocells and the data monetisation challenge
-  Jorge Alvarez  -  Network Strategy Manager, Telefonica o2 UK
* Strategies and Challenges in Deploying Femtos in Rural America
-  Rick Vergin - CEO, Mosaic Telecom
* Leapfrog with FemtoCells
-  Nick Papadoglou  -  Senior Manager, Wind Hellas
* MegaFon's experience in femtocell deployment in Russia, 2011 - year of challenge
-  Pavel Skorodumov - Senior Engineer, MegaFon
* Network Norway's Experience in Launching an Enterprise Femtocell Service
-  Geir Ove Jenssen - Femtocell Project Manager, Network Norway
* Femtocell Enabled Applications and Services - How to attract the Developer Community to Femtocells
-  Camillo Carlini - Home Network and Handset Engineering, Telecom Italia
* Femtocell market update & Latest progress of Femtocells standardisation and future requirements
-  Simon Saunders - Chairman, Femto Forum

Industry terms:
Femtocell is a small cellular gateway, typically designed for use in a home or small business. It connects to the service provider's network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 4 active mobile phones in a residential setting, and 8 to 16 active mobile phones in enterprise settings.
Source:  Wikipedia

Event dates and location:  21-23 June 2011, The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, London, UK


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