A femtocell, also known as a 3G access point, is a low-cost, low-power cellular base station that provides improved indoor coverage while backhauling the cellular traffic over a broadband connection.
Femtocells are designed to work with existing mobile handsets and can support multiple users in a home environment. Over the long-term, femtocells also present an opportunity to develop new mobile services for the home that take advantage of low-cost, high-speed internet access. According to ABI Research, there will be 102 million users of femtocell products on 32 million access points worldwide by 2011. The majority of these deployments will be based on the all-IP architecture.
An all-IP approach to core network integration for femtocells is a superior approach to other legacy radio access network based approaches on a number of levels. The all-IP architecture utilizes standard communication protocols (i.e. SIP) and interfaces directly with the IP-based core network.
This allows service providers to immediately achieve the end-to-end cost and service advantages that only an all-IP approach can deliver rather than being constrained by the historical limitations of traditional radio access network based solutions. The all-IP approach provides all of the existing mobile services plus enhanced IP services, wireline service convergence, reduction in network cost, seamless evolution to IMS, and load reduction on the mobile core network.