How is Femtocell Different From Picocell?

 

In the previous post we have discussed about a Picocell which is a small mobile base station used to improve in-building cellular coverage and capacity.

Though Picocells have been used by carriers for many years, the limelight on picocell is slowly being moved to yet another new technology: Femtocell technology. Despite similar aims, however, there are some key differences between the two technologies:

Coverage

Picocells tend to have a longer range than femtocells, which are designed to cover a user’s home or small office rather than an office floor or street corner.

Capacity

Femtocells only support a handful of users while picocells are designed to handle up to 100 users at one time.

Installation

Picocells are normally installed and maintained directly by the network operator, who would pay for site rental, power and fixed network connections back their switching centre.

Femtocells are autonomous and are self-installed by the end user in their home or office, primarily for their own benefit.

Seamless connectivity

Picocell is configured with neighbor lists, so that mobile phones can switch over to an appropriate nearby cell and continue their conversation without interruption.

Femtocells automatically determine which frequency and power levels to operate at, rather than being directed from a central network element.Hence femtocell would not normally broadcast a list of nearby neighboring cells. Mobile phones would thus maintain the connection on the femtocell as much as possible, but there is a risk of call drops or having a short outage if the call needs to be switched across to an external macro or microcell.

As the battle for better capacity, coverage for customer delight doesn’t seem to end with newer technologies emerging in the market. However time would tell whether Picocell or Femtocell would win the race.

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