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What Is a Femtocell? Explained in simple terms.

By Jeff Baker on 23rd February 2012

What Is a Femtocell? Explained in simple terms.


A Femtocell is a type of cell for use in the home, or in an office or some other smaller location.  A cell is a part of the wireless network that makes up all of the coverage for mobile phones, including smartphones. A Femtocell is a very useful piece of technology that improves the coverage of mobile phone networks in areas where cell signal can be weak. Many people find that their phone coverage can be poor in their home or their place of work, even if their phone signal is good or even very good outside of the building. A 3G phone signal can be blocked or cancelled by certain kinds of building structure, so a good signal outside does not necessarily mean that a phone connection is possible inside.


Alternatively, a femtocell can be used to extend a network coverage to a place where there is no local coverage from satellite or phone masts. With a femtocell, the people wanting to use a particular network can still get connected on their phones. This is because a femtocell does not rely on the usual microwave signal routes to get connected to the wider phone network.


A Femtocell uses the internet to form a high-speed connection to the phone network provider. This means that users can set up a femtocell base station in any place where there is suitable high speed internet. The coverage provided by a femtocell is quite small; a typical area would be within a ten metre range of the node. The word “femto” relates to the small size of the node. The small scale of a femtocell makes it an ideal technology for home users and many mobile phone network providers are offering femtocell equipment as part of some of their deals, including 3 at the three shop.


A 3G femtocell is known as a Home Node. A typical femtocell is about the same size as any regular broadband router, making it a fairly discrete item to keep in the home.  The ease of use of a femtocell is also very good; for a cell designed for home use, the device is usually a simple plug and play design, meaning that very little setup knowledge is required. The extent of setting up is usually making a list of allowed phones that can access the femtocell. This is done through an online program, since the femtocell works through the internet.


There are plenty of positives to adding a femtocell service to a phone contract. For people who have trouble getting adequate phone reception in their home, a femtocell will provide a full signal with its range of operation and put an end to bad signal. This means users do not have to worry about accidentally missing calls due to poor signal, so using a mobile to fully replace the landline can be a real possibility.


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Tags Femtocell, 4G, 3G

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