Netgear has announced it will be using technology from Ubiquisys to embed 3G femtocells into a home gateway product by the end of the year, though the box will also have Wi-Fi; in addition to being a DSL modem and VoIP router. Femtocells promise to spread 3G connectivity into homes, allowing your 3G handset to connect to your …
PCS repeaters already available
While Netgear's concept is a much better approach in that it integrates the 3G with wireline and 802.11 wireless, there are already "microcell" repeaters in the 1.2GHz (I think...above 900 MHz...) band for rebroadcasting your up and down link from a PCS cell phone or EVDO modem. I currently use one to improve coverage inside our RVs when we're camped at the edge of a MMA (the usual spot to find campgrounds) and need the extra "punch" to get out. I don't think the power is that great, but a 3dB external antenna makes a BIG difference...
BTW, the repeaters are on sale without license from major electronics resellers here in the U.S.
What do they have for those of us using cable? And those of us who have rejected VoIP for its lack of features? (can't use fax reliably, doesn't have distinctive ring).
Replacement for wifi?
I dunno about anyone else, but I think that the difference between 802.11g (54mbit) and HSPDA (7.2mbit) is a little steep. I don't personally use wifi for anything that requires bandwidth (gigabit is just so much sweeter...) but this 3G stuff would only be able to handle about half of my downstream capability from the internet, and that isn't close to the speed I can get on my lan. I can't really see that many people opting to use 3G to set up a home network instead of wifi, especially with 802.11n and it's inflated numbers just on the horizon.
If anything, this would seem to be in the bluetooth bandwitdh range, but that seems to work pretty well already...
Also, who the hell wants to stream media from their phone to their TV or something? I really don't get why the mobile is suddenly supposed to be the center of some sort of media experience.
Perhaps not a WiFi killer, but if it does use less power and enables a quicker integration of voip into the cell phones then I would be happy to have it. This would make the phones simpler and quite frankly they don't need high speed WiFi considering the level of quality A/V they are able to handle. Perhaps streaming music and calls automatically to your stereo, or letting you copy some thumbnails from your PC could be useful.
Keep it wired
Since Wi-fi was exposed as being potentially hazardous, I’m going to be keeping everything on CAT6 cables. I already have two RG45 sockets in every room in the house and CAT6 cables running to a central switch. As far as I am concerned the health of my family is more important than taking up some technology just because it is there. I have actually done quite a bit of research into it and have seen evidence of cell phone companies covering up their own research when it showed cell phone radiation causing a huge increase in cancer. 3G is apparently even worse than Wi-Fi so as far as I am concerned, keep it wired.
With the phone companies coming out with such pathetic data tarrifs, I'd want to be absolutely certain that my phone doesn't silently swap back to the big 3g network while browsing at home!
I expect there will be lots of people ranting about unexpected huge bills when this hits the high street!
nobbleware anyone ?
"... why use a power-hungry, short-range, technology when the addition of a femtocell provides all the same functionality without the drawbacks?"
Err WHAT ?
You mean "why use a medium range, high speed, open, cheap technology when you can use a short range, vendor controlled, low speed connection instead ?" The fact is that these femtocells will be short range because of their low power - I suspect that they will have no more range that a half decent WiFi access point. The user will not be able to fiddle with them as they will be well and truly knobbled by the vendors*, and it's a MUCH lower speed.
So apart from enabling ones phone to actually work at home, I see b***er all benefit for them - especially considering how nobbled and featureless they'll be !
What is REALLY needed for these to work well is for these femtocells to be available for private use (ie not controlled by one of the mobile network operators). Think of the opportunities if you can set up your own femto-mobile-network and use cheap commodity mobile phones as in-premises cordless phones. If it could be arranged to roam onto public networks when required then that would be a bigger bonus !
* Seen what the likes of BT do to otherwise open and functional hardware when they stick their nobbleware on it ?
Not Wifi replacement
Having read the article and the corresponding item on the Ubq website, it seems clear the aim is not to replace Wifi but to give the home user an integrated femtocell along with their broadband box, thus expanding the home network to include mobiles - and discourage you from using Skype etc. since you continue to use your mobile out of convenience !
Plus I can guess the operators would want to give cheap calls / texts if made through the femtocell, with other flashy features, to discourage people from being "tariff tarts" and swapping operators each time a new deal came out.
I can imagine the technology being useful for prison establishments so that all "illegal" mobile calls would be registered and channelled through the prison's own "base stations" !
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