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Femtocells are low-power base stations operating in licensed spectrum, which are typically installed indoors in a house, small office, or home office by end users to provide exclusive or preferential access to a designated group of users as configured by the femtocell subscriber and/or the access provider. Femtocells have gained a lot of attention recently due to their advantages in terms of infrastructure cost saving and improved user experience in indoor environments. Several standards bodies, such as 3GPP, WiMAX Forum, and IEEE 802.16, have started to develop standard solutions to enable and optimize femtocells operation. However, there are some technical challenges to the success of femtocell technologies that need to be overcome before they can be deployed on large scales. This article presents an overview of WiMAX femtocell requirements, deployment models, and solutions in the near and long terms.
Date of Publication: September 2009