2011 Winners

The excellence of this year’s awards entries is testimony to the significant achievements in the femtocell industry from organisations large and small, from all over the globe, and from dedicated individuals. Following our prestigious awards ceremony we are proud to announce the winners below.

1. Individual contribution to Femto Forum activities
(judged by Femto Forum group chairs)
2. Residential femtocell access point design and technology innovation (vendor)
Picochip The PC3008 enables the world’s smallest 3G basestation

The PC3008 femtocell system-on-chip (SoC) enables a new range of femtocell products and, in turn, a new range of services and business models. It allows a 3G base station to fit onto a USB form factor with a total bill of materials (BOM) of less than $50. For MVNOs and companies shipping set top boxes (STBs) into homes, femtocells are a viable offering.

Operators can easily add HSPA+ home-base station capabilities – just by plugging in a USB key. This will deliver fast data services, improve handset battery life and enable a variety of innovative “home zone” services.

The PC3008 supports eight simultaneous users with 3GPP Release 7 HSPA+ (21Mbps downlink; 5Mbps uplink) specification. On-chip features include enhanced security functions; increased integration; and optimised support for next-generation, low-cost and low-power femtocell radios.

The PC3008 features a fast (950MHz) ARM11 processor, and uses 40nm optimised process technology and advanced packaging to deliver dramatic savings in cost, size and power consumption. It demonstrates a high level of integration and innovation that enables a new range of applications and deployments.

3. Non-residential (enterprise, public access and other) femtocell access point design and technology innovation (vendor)
Alcatel-Lucent Metro Cells: femtocell technology for increased capacity and coverage in urban and rural environments

The Alcatel-Lucent 9363 and 9364 Metro Cells address two urgent non-residential market needs: an urban explosion in demand for data-hungry devices; and the lack of 3G coverage in rural locations.

Proven solution

In urban trials:

  • 18 Metro Cells deployed and monitored for 13 days;
  • A trial involving four metro sites resulted in 18% voice traffic and more than 50% data traffic being offloaded from the macro – leading to a significant QoE improvement.

In rural trials:

  • Deployment of Alcatel-Lucent 9363s and 9364s in more than 10 rural locations;
  • Improved coverage – at much lower cost than that of a macro installation;
  • Greater mobile usage in and around rural towns confirmed.

End-user experience:

  • Average download throughput more than doubled; some locations had nearly 4x speed improvement;
  • Nearly all users reported significantly faster speed, with increased reliability of voice communication across devices.

Commercial contracts:

  • Chunghwa Telecom – Taiwan; Telefonica – Spain; Etisalat – UAE; and Vodafone – UK and New Zealand (for the deployment of a nationwide femtocell service).

4. Femtocell network element design and technology innovation (any)
ip.access OysterCatcher™

ip.access has developed an advanced solution for femtocell Access Point analysis and diagnostics called OysterCatcher.

With OysterCatcher, the behaviour patterns of live femtocell Access Points (APs) in a large-scale deployment are analysed to resolve issues, enhance real-world performance, provide better customer support, and deliver continuous improvement in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

What is the market need for OysterCatcher?

Gaining a better understanding of the real world behaviour of live femtocells in the field is vital for operators.

OysterCatcher provides the tools for drill-down diagnostics and analysis, enabling continuous improvement of femto KPIs based on live network data. OysterCatcher doesn’t leave the network to run by itself – diagnosing and improving femto AP performance is a continuous task.

How does OysterCatcher solve the problem of ever-changing radio environments for the home cell?

OysterCatcher software intelligently captures and uploads relevant diagnostic data from individual APs to a server-side database, where OysterCatcher provides tools for diagnosing performance issues.

Where and how is OysterCatcher being used?

In the world’s largest femtocell deployment, we’ve been able to optimise radio parameters to reduce call drop rates and improve performance.

OysterCatcher is being developed to support diagnosis of issues captured in the field.

Mass market consumers are not tolerant of technology teething troubles. Maximising performance is vital to the long-term health and ambition of the femtocell industry.

5. Femtocell application: new service or technology (vendor or operator)
Alcatel-Lucent Alcatel-Lucent 9360 small cell/femtocell application API, SDK and SW developers outreach

A recent survey shows that, in the US specifically, 72% of respondents who found small cells appealing were very interested in at least one advanced service, and half of these were willing to pay $4.99/month for their single favourite service or $9.99/month for a bundle of their favourite three.

Overview of Alcatel-Lucent 9360 Small Cell/Femtocell API SDK and tools

Alcatel-Lucent has enriched the application library for femtocells by introducing the key elements required for a successful development ecosystem at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona:

  • Software Development Kit (SDK) based on the application API;
  • Application server/gateway.

The Alcatel-Lucent 9360 Small Cell portfolio provides:

  • A femtocell solution that provides access to businesses, public and residential users;
  • An API that enables seamless integration of apps;
  • Tools that enable seamless integration of applications with the Alcatel-Lucent 9360 Small Cell portfolio products.

Proven solution

SDK Trials include:

  • Family connection, which informs parents of the safe arrival of kids from school;
  • Meet and greet, which uses a femtocell to detect the proximity of a user to the arrival gate at an airport and enables personalized greetings to be displayed;
  • Security and home control monitoring;
  • Customer behaviour analysis;
  • Fleet management;
  • e-journal, which broadcasts news or sports replays to a large number of users at once.

Alcatel-Lucent has also introduced an “e-tourism” smart app – this has already generated great demand from many operators, including Telecom Italia.

6. Progress in commercial deployment (vendor or ecosystem)
Huawei China Unicom’s 3G Inn wireless broadband service by Huawei Technologies

The world’s largest fully commercial HetNet (Femtocell) network provides coverage for more than two-thirds of China’s provinces.

Definition of 3G Inn

3G Inn is China Unicom’s nationwide home and enterprise service application, providing fixed-mobile broadband convergence service based on Huawei’s 3G Femtocell solutions.

Success of 3G Inn Solution

China Unicom and Huawei complements continuous UMTS network coverage with Huawei’s Femto solution, improving coverage and capacity in hotspots and indoors, and cost-effectively ensuring better voice service and high-speed data packets.

Early Femtocell roll-out has subsequently addressed three key hot spot scenarios, all of which have global relevance:

  • Campus Coverage;
  • Small/Medium-sized Enterprises;
  • Electronic Shopping Malls.

Significance of these projects

Huawei’s Femto solution enables China Unicom’s UMTS network to achieve greater performance, improve spectrum efficiency, enhance coverage quality, reduce the quantity of sites, decrease carbon emissions, drive revenue streams, attract users and increase loyalty. The solution results in a reduced total cost of ownership, while driving profitability.

This project represents a global milestone in extending MBB experience to enterprise and home users. China Unicom and Huawei demonstrated the femtocell’s ability to provide mobile broadband coverage, and improved network capacity and efficiency in seamless operation with existing 3G networks.

7. Commercial deployment – marketing campaign (operator)
Vodafone Vodafone femto productline – best value proposition build and multi-market rollout

Vodafone femtocells are now available commercially to Vodafone customers in nine markets: the UK, Australia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Qatar and Italy – where Vodafone is the first operator to make femtocells commercially available. A Vodafone customer need never lose a call, SMS or email.

Vodafone developed the femtocell solutions to be plug and play. We made it easy to set up and use, and we made it fit into our customers’ personal home environments.

Key to delivering a simple customer experience is:

  1. Simple installation – the graphical Quick Start Guide fits on an A4 sheet.
  2. A solution that works on any DSL line, not just on Vodafone’s.
  3. Simple registration – our customers can register mobile devices to the femtocell through their existing Vodafone online accounts.

We employed leading designers to translate the benefits of a femtocell, to address our consumer and enterprise customers, and to align the femtocell industrial design to the portfolio of Vodafone Connected Home devices.

Our customers have rewarded us with churn decrease and a steep increase in NPS – voice and data usage. Media coverage has been significant and positive.

8. Commercial deployment – technical implementation (operator)
Vodafone Vodafone Group best commercial deployment technical implementation

"I’ve had lots of letters & emails from customers telling me how much Vodafone Sure Signal has changed their lives in a positive way. It is only offered by us, and we should be proud of this product. With the new low pricing, it is affordable, and is another example of how we provide the best network for customers." Guy Laurence, UK CEO

Vodafone has driven forward the 3G femtocell technology ecosystem with High Speed Uplink Access (HSUPA), new bearer support, and broadband optimisation (fitting four simultaneous voice calls in 128kbps). We have integrated systems from our suppliers into at least four core network suppliers: Ericsson; NSN; Alcatel-Lucent; and Cisco/Starent.

We’ve launched commercial femtocell services in the consumer, enterprise, and public sectors. Vodafone now manages the full service product lifecycle for 10 femtocell product variants in live commercial systems.

We offer the ability for customers to check their broadband lines in advance of purchase; and web-based IT systems to self manage their requirements for access rights management – the creation of so-called ‘white lists’. We provide internal business tools for provisioning, performance management, audits, inventory, billing, and customer management (including web self-service) across multiple markets.

Overall, we’ve ensured that our implementation delivers a differentiated femtocell experience. This achievement cannot be matched in quality and performance. We deserve the award for Best Technical Implementation.

9. Contribution to femtocell standards (individual or company)
Nokia Siemens Networks Contribution to 3GPP Releases 10 and 11 – enhancements to mobility and interference management

NSN has played a key role in the set up of the femtocell standards. NSN understood very early the importance of standards to femtocell take-up, and the necessity of open CPE supply for guaranteeing continuous innovation and cost evolution. NSN was the first, and is still to a large extent the only, system vendor that “walks the talk”; today we have a commercial Femto end-to-end system, with multiple external access points, that fully encompasses the 3GPP Femtocell standard.

In the latest season, NSN continued its strong efforts to make femtocells interwork better with the surrounding radio environment, through our work in continuously improving mobility and interference management, as part of 3GPP Releases 10 and 11.

10. Enabling technology (components, subsystems, modules etc.)
Texas InstrumentsThe TMS320-TCI6614 SoC for base stations

TI is introducing the TMS320-TCI6614. The KeyStone multicore SoC architecture builds upon TI’s field-proven carrier-grade predecessors, and includes an innovative processor core featuring support for fixed and floating point operations, and AccelerationPacs for multi-standard (LTE, WCDMA) systems. TI’s small cell SoC is the only true simultaneous dual-mode (LTE, WCDMA) solution in the market.

Our solution is unique; the SoC contains dedicated AccelerationPacs supporting LTE and WCDMA, so a single small cell base station can support both standards simultaneously, to their full capacity.

TI’s small cell SoC enables advanced receiver technologies to maximise spectral efficiency. The TCI6614 brings cost effective “macro class” performance to small cell base stations for the first time, enabling manufacturers to offer operators small cell benefits without compromise.

With the introduction of ARM RISC processing into the KeyStone multicore architecture, small cell vendors will not require a separate, power-hungry RISC processor for data- and control-plane processing, nor require costly and power-hungry ASIC and FPGAs to address small cell radio requirements.

The TCI6614 small cell SoC is the only device in the market that integrates packet traffic processing and radio traffic processing in a base-station-on-a-chip single package.

TI’s new small cell SoC will be officially announced at the Femtocells World Summit in June 2011. Initial samples of the TCI6614 will be available in 3Q11; the next version, with integrated digital radio front end technology, will be available towards the end of the year.

11. Social vision – promoting femtocells for social/ economic/ environmental development (any)
NEC Outdoor small cells for rural & developing communities to bridge the digital divide

NEC is pursuing rural femtocell-based solutions. In Thailand and Japan, NEC tested its femtocell solution over satellite backhaul; at first problematic, NEC engineers made protocol optimisation changes to ensure that the delay incurred by the satellite round-trip would be tolerated by the system, and voice calls and handovers would be successful. In India, NEC is engaging with sizeable operator trials to bring femtocells to the fore of 3G deployment.

In Europe, sizeable populations living in remote communities lack DSL, Cable and 3G. NEC is investing in – and testing with – satellite service providers and operators, to pave the way for rural outdoor femtocells.

Recently, NEC’s femtocell solution has been used as a disaster-recovery tool, serving communities affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. NEC’s femtocell solution has been configured and tested to utilise various kinds of backhaul, such as satellite, microwave and WiMAX.

When much of the traditional fixed-line and mobile infrastructure was inoperable, it was this flexibility and the very low power consumption requirement that allowed NEC’s femto solution to be deployed quickly and used as a disaster recovery solution and a vital communication method.

12. Judges’ choice (open to all; discretionary)
13. Chairman's Award

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