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Femtocell (and Fring)

grumpyoldman
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 31-07-2007

Femtocell (and Fring)

For poor signal areas, and inside  buildings which render poor  connections on cellphones, a broadband connection has had Fring as one helpful solution.  And now there is another: Femtocell.
Fring is probably a good solution for people with WiFi phones.
If PN commissions Fring, I'd be interested, see:
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,451.0.html
But something a lot more helpful to most people would be a Femtocell device for 3G phones.
See Femtocell home device as described on BBC Click programme:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/7098257.stm
Quote from BBC article:
First off, you will need to have a broadband connection at home, any connection speed will do. Then plug in the femtocell to your router and away you go.
You do not even need to leave your PC on.
The phone uses its 3G signal to reach the box, which sends your voice over the internet to your operator, who patches it through to the person you are calling as per usual.
When their voice hits your box it gets converted into a 3G signal inside your four walls, thus avoiding any nasty drop outs.
Useful, as around one in four mobile calls are made from home.
Up to four registered handsets can connect simultaneously to each femtocell which provides a more reliable data stream.
It only works with 3G handsets because the signals used by GRPS phones are different and often do not have the coverage problems experienced by 3G users.

The BBC knew something about firms intending to commission Femtocell (from manufacturer  http://www.ubiquisys.com/ubiquisys3/) but I suppose it's confidential commercial information at this stage.  All they said was:
So you may not be surprised to learn that some US and European operators plan to give you this box next year as part of your new mobile phone call plan.
It will come with free or cheap calls from home as part of the deal.

If I had to guess, I'd say BT would look at this as a helpful adjunct to network traffic management, but that they are likely to charge for it. 
I'd be happy to pay for the Femtocell device, but it needs PN to implement use.  Any chance of that happening? 
Brian
7 REPLIES
Not applicable

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

So what do we need PN to do then?
If all we need is an internet connection (any speed) then what more does PN need to provide us?
Presumably it may be useful to have the packets tagged and prioritised along with other interactive traffic, but that should be about all thats required.
Unless I'm missing something, the work needs to be done by your mobile phone operator.
They need to support the device, and come up with call tariffs to make the product worthwhile on cost basis.
The ISP connection is just a pipe to the internet from your home.
The femtocell box allows your mobile to connect to one end of that pipe.
You need your phone provider to come up with a connection for the other end. (As well as rewarding you for providing them with bandwidth you pay for, to enable you to make calls)
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,976
Thanks: 265
Fixes: 11
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

Quote from: grumpyoldman
Quote from BBC article:
The phone uses its 3G signal to reach the box, which sends your voice over the internet to your operator, who patches it through to the person you are calling as per usual.
When their voice hits your box it gets converted into a 3G signal inside your four walls, thus avoiding any nasty drop outs.
Useful, as around one in four mobile calls are made from home.
...

Is this useful?
It's possible to make phone calls using just a couple of wires, a microphone and a loudspeaker. If you have a landline (and you do) then the old-fashioned methods of simply using the telephone service in the way it was designed to be used has to be simpler and cheaper [no fancy calling packages etc].
Why would someone want to make a mobile call from home anyway?

Not applicable

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

Quote from: axisofevil
Why would someone want to make a mobile call from home anyway?
I can only imagine its because the handsets tend to be better, and they have the numbers stored in them already.
Having said that, why would my mobile get better reception/battery life than any of the cordless handsets I've tried?
I seem to spend about £100 every few years on cordless phones, and they are always rubbish.
Anyway, my cordless woes aside, what I really ought to be doing is installing a VOIP client on my WiFi enabled mobile, and using that.
grumpyoldman
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

Using a Femtocell type of system is about practicality and convenience. especially when mobile phones don't work throughout your home. 
It's happen stance, but I seem to be using mobile phones separately from other communications systems, and it would be useful if they still worked when inside my home; mainly for other people to contact me when their preference is to use a mobile-phone rather than anything else.  I, and I'm sure many other people,  do make some mobile phone calls from home when my mobile tariff is cheaper than making a call to a mobile phone from a land-line.
I don't know about other people, but I have a 2G mobile phone that has all the details stored that I ever use,  and that works well as  a system without any telephone directory. But it only works inside my house near the front kitchen window, so it would be more useful if it worked everywhere in the house.  Visitors have tried three 3G phones near the kitchen window, and they didn't work at all.  At the higher frequencies, for practical purposes there is  no 3G signal anywhere in my house.  So the Femtocell device is not a solution looking for a problem, it is a solution to a real problem. 
My land-line phone hand set has a VOIP provider enabled on any broadband connection (Zoom router) but I've never sent or received a call using that VOIP provider.  The PN VOIP interoperability list is also so limited, that I've never made a call using it.    I am not happy about using a cordless handset with land-lines because of the lack of security.  So being able to use a mobile phone everywhere in my house would be a very real advance, and convenience.
@James_H
PN prioritises types of connection by protocol, e.g. so that email, internet browsing and VOIP have high priority, P2P is given low priority etc., and latterly on the highest tariff gaming can be given highest priority. Everything you say is right, and what PN would need to do is enable the Femto protocol as an equal of VOIP. See:
http://www.femtoforum.org/femto/
The mobile phone providers will be saving significant network capacity in making their systems work with Femtocell, so I would guess that there is no significant problem in their adoption.
@ axisofevil
I don't really want to use a mobile phone from home, but I do  because to contact someone on another mobile phone it is often significantly more expensive to use a land-line.
Some people with mobile phone contracts prefer to contact me on my mobile phone, and they currently can't if I'm at home.
Going beyond Femtocell for phone calls, the protocol enables internet connection, without the high charges currently for mobile use.  With a VGA display (640x480)  for a mobile phone rather than QVGA (320x240) this should enable reasonable web-browsing.  Feet-up and watching TV, I can imagine the convenience of using a web-enabled mobile phone to look something  up immediately, rather than reaching for a laptop.  I've got anxieties about doing the same things, VOIP and web-browsing,  using WiFi, because of the security issues.  But also note that some mobile phone providers have locked-out use of WiFi (Orange is an example), clearly to protect their revenue, so that is not an option for everyone.
Brian
Not applicable

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

Can I make femtocell work with the MD's N73?
Our company phone tariff is with Vodafone, and it'll save me having to switch to Orange before my hols (Hols start 5th Dec)
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,880
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

what I would like is to see something like this for 2.5g phones so I can use my iPhone in my room without having to go upstairs an out into the freezing cold
grumpyoldman
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Femtocell (and Fring)

@ James_H
Can I make femtocell work with the MD's N73?
Reply:
No, not until the broadband ISP and preferably the phone company as well implement the Femtocell protocol.
Otherwise I imagine the N73 will, because if there's no room in the main memory for the software, it should run off the mini-SD card without too much problem.  But my experience is limited to Windows mobile software, so don't rely on my guessing.
@ Assos
Couldn't agree more, if your phone can be programmed I suppose Femtocell on 2.5G phones should work.
I'm pretty sure that  the mobile Nokia OS, Palm OS and Windows mobile OS systems can all be used, otherwise the Ubiquisys's Femtocell would be a non-starter. 
NEWS UPDATE:
Only just watched a recording of Tuesday's  BBC2 Working Lunch, and seen Chris Sacca, the Head of Innovation for Google, on the programme.  He said Google had about 500 employees in London and gave as an example of their investments that they tried to buy-in good people/companies with ideas.  To the point, his example of recent investment in the UK, was that they had invested in Ubiquisys, and described this as for "a very cool device that people are deploying within their homes to get better cell phone and mobile phone reception..."
Since Ubiquisys seems to be solely a launch company for Femtocell, that was what Google has to have invested in.  That's good enough for me, to believe that it will be available, and I'll switch ISP if necessary to be able to use it. 
Brian