Roke’s concept means that a reliable 3G mobile service in some of the most remote areas in the world is now a cost effective reality
Roke Manor Research has developed the world’s first 3G Wide Area Coverage Femtocell capability. Using picoChip’s technology as the development platform, Roke’s reference design has a 40km range which delivers more than 40,000 times the area covered by most other femtocells. It is also the first to support full mobility at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour, allowing mobile users to travel while connected to the 3G base stations.
This solution could be used to cost-effectively serve sparsely-populated rural areas that are conventionally thought of as uneconomic, or to quickly deploy cellular coverage, for example as ‘instant infrastructure’ to help emergency services after a natural disaster.
The new Wide Area Coverage Femtocell requires minimum infrastructure, and its small form factor significantly reduces power consumption, making it a cost effective option for network operators. It supports up to twelve simultaneous users, with Release 5 HSDPA, and a software upgrade to Release 6 HSUPA. Roke has also developed custom firmware enhancements to picoChip’s industry-standard PC8208 femtocell solution.
Prasid Shah, Business Sector Manager at Roke, said: “Previously the best range femtocell technology could deliver was two kilometres, useful for wireless services on a campus, but uneconomic for network operators that would have to deploy large numbers in order to fill signal black holes in the countryside. Roke’s concept means that a reliable 3G mobile service in some of the most remote areas in the world is now a cost effective reality for network operators, which could be a solution to help address the ‘digital divide’. Alternatively, the ‘plug and play’ nature of a femtocell allows carriers to quickly deploy a robust network, even if there is little infrastructure in place. This can be used by emergency services or aid workers to offer complete voice and data service even after an earthquake or natural disaster has destroyed conventional cellular facilities.
“As a picoChip development partner, we are delighted that our outstanding team has successfully worked with picoChip to build on their femtocell platform and to develop a truly unique technology that enables wholly new types of cellular communications service,” concluded Shah.
Rupert Baines, VP Marketing, at picoChip, said: “There is a growing awareness of how femtocells can be used in a variety of ways, to cost-effectively address a range of different problems. Roke’s development of a low-cost long-range femtocell opens up many applications and deployment opportunities. picoChip’s focus is to provide technology that enables new types of cellular communications services cost-effectively. Building on our proven femtocell technology, Roke has achieved this and now offers network operators a genuine alternative to traditional base station deployment.”
About Roke Manor Research Ltd
Roke Manor Research Ltd. is an independent electronics research and development centre based in Romsey, Hampshire. Founded in 1956 and wholly owned by Siemens since 1991, Roke is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of innovative solutions and contract R&D. Roke employs 450 staff and has over 430 patents to its name. Roke pioneers developments in electronic sensors, networks, and communications technology.
Roke has over 50 years of communications experience, providing customers with technology consultancy through to product development. Roke’s communications expertise is focused on wireless technologies and it has actively participated in the standardisation of LTE. For many years it has also undertaken radio access network (RAN) specification, architecture, design and implementation, as well as implementing and customising wireless physical and link layers for both the commercial mobile communications and defence markets.
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picoChip is enabling the next generation of wireless infrastructure. Its picoXcell™ family of optimized silicon devices is the leader in the fast growing market for femtocell access points. Its picoArray™ family of flexible wireless processors is the leading solution for OFDMA-based network equipment, and is backed by comprehensive software support for global standards such as EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, WiMAX, LTE, cdma2000 and GSM. Located in Bath, UK and Beijing, China, picoChip is re-shaping mobile networks.
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