Visualizing Femtocell Capacity, or “Honey, I Shrunk the Cellular Network”

November 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here’s a fun way to visualize the benefits of very small cells: 

Macro World: Imagine the existing cellular network, with big cells (on towers) spaced a mile apart, each delivering a lot of capacity/service to many subscribers in their proximity. 

Femto World: Now imagine that same network, shrunk to one thousandth of its existing size. Now, instead of one cell serving a square mile, you have 1000 cells in a square mile: a matrix of about 32 cells by 32 cells. If each of those small cells is a Femtocell, then this Femto network is delivering 1000 times the capacity of the previous, macrocellular network!! (Note: With the existing spectrum; the Operator does not need to purchase more, costly spectrum). Alternatively, each femtocell need only deliver 1/1000 of the capacity of a big cell to offer the same capacity. The desired reality (sweet spot) for femtocells will be somewhere in the middle: far less capacity than a macro cell, but costing proportionally less than the macro cell.

Conclusion: Femtocells can potentially offer far more capacity and better coverage (where people need it) and cost less versus current macro networks.  Or, according to the Miller Lite formula: “Great Taste, Less Filling


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