Femto in the Wi-Fi Box

A number of network operators are already selling femtocells today to their subscribers to improve their 3G network coverage at home these days. All of them so far offer it as a standalone box with its own power supply and its own space requirements. A shortcoming of this is that when connected via Ethernet to a DSL or cable modem not supplied by the same network operator, it's usually not possible to prefer IP packets to and from the femto box to ensure quality of service.

But things are evolving and Lightreading now reports that fixed/mobile network operator SFR will shortly launch a new home gateway (combination of DSL/Wi-Fi/TV/fixed line phone box) that has a slot that can hold a femto card. I've been waiting to see news of this approach making it to the market for quite some time now and I think it will help to bring femto deployment to a whole new level. No additional box, no 'visible' extra transmitter, no 'visible' additioanl power requirements, easier installation, QoS can be ensured as the femto is now part of the access device at home.

2 thoughts on “Femto in the Wi-Fi Box”

  1. Yes, that’s a step forward, nice to see SFR doing this.
    But combining femto with DSL modem will only increase upstream QoS. At least in the scenario where mobile operator and DSL-provider are two separate entities.

    Or maybe could femto on example differentiate downstream TCP flows by sending ACK’s slower and thus decreasing window size for non-femto traffic (during ongoing call). Or drop random packets, something like WRED but in HNB not ISP’s router.

  2. Free, the 4th mobile operator, which network has still to be built, says that their next dsl-iptv-phone “freebox” modem will also include femto.

    The offer is currently composed of a 1st box: DSL modem, fixed phone, ethernet switch ; and a 2nd box: IPTV, DVR, multimedia, games, etc.

    I think they will add the femto in the DSL modem box, which is installed in most of the customers’ installations, which is not the case for the TV set top box.

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