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Picochip powers Contela second-generation femtocell for SK Telecom

Thu, 06/02/2011 - 4:22am
Picochip has been chosen to supply the technology for the second wave of femtocell access points from Contela, used by Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) for data offload. Building on the success of Contela’s first-generation data-only product, also based on Picochip technology, the new 2FA combines a 16-user ‘dual-carrier’ HSPA+ femtocell with Wi-Fi in an integrated access point. SKT will deploy the 2FA in high-traffic areas such as cafés, shopping malls, train stations, offices and apartment blocks.

SKT’s on-going femtocell rollout was the first in the world specifically for data offload. Designed to deliver capacity where end-user demand is highest, it was also the world’s first network to be based around the new 3GPP standard Iuh interface. SKT launched the initial service last year and announced on May 24 that it is expanding deployment with the new 2FA, aiming to install 10,000 femtocells by the end of 2011.

“Operators around the world are facing massive growth in data traffic and femtocells provide one of the best strategies to address this challenge,” commented Picochip VP of Marketing Rupert Baines. “Many people are discussing ‘small cells’ and higher capacity femtocells, SK Telecom’s volume deployment demonstrates Contela’s leadership in this area. This roll-out proves that femtocells can increase capacity, improve network efficiency and ensure smartphone users get the best out of their devices.”

“Femtocells are now being seen by many network operators as an integral part of their network strategy and the commercial launch by SK Telecom shows how successful they are in dealing with rapidly increasing data usage. Operators experiencing data overload issues and looking for the optimum solution can learn a lesson from SK Telecom’s unique use of femtocells in its deployment this year,” said JangAhn Kwon, CMO, Contela. “After the accomplishments of the first generation product, we know we can rely on Picochip’s technical support and expertise and look forward to working together in the future.”

Although femtocells are sometimes regarded as tools for improving coverage in the home, the same technology can be used to deliver extra network capacity wherever it is needed. This is increasingly vital as the amount of data carried by wireless networks grows exponentially, driven by the demands of smartphones and tablet computers. In order to help satisfy these demands, SK Telecom decided to deploy Contela’s first generation of femtocell and is now upgrading to the new dual-carrier version. The new 2FA femtocell can serve up to 16 simultaneous users and offers data rates of up to 42Mbps in addition to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It supports 3GPP Release 8, including Iuh.

Contela is a leading femtocell company providing end-to-end solutions including data, indoor, and outdoor APs, FMS (Femtocell Management Systems) and FGW (Femto Gateways) for residential, public, and enterprise deployment. Picochip's femtocell technology portfolio scales to include support for larger femtocells for enterprise and public access, as well as the innovative smartSignaling(TM) technology to support high numbers of smartphones on one femtocell.
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