UK-based small cell manufacturer ip.access unveiled a new vision for the small cell market with a working concept design of the femtocell of the future. About the size of an iPhone, the ‘Advanced Femtocell Concept’ (AFC) showcases a number of new features that add to the usability, portability and desirability of a femtocell in the home, office or even on the move.?

Featuring a Wi-Fi backhaul capability, as well as integrated GPS, the AFC can be positioned almost anywhere within a home or office. It can be attached directly to the broadband router, or placed in a compact docking station, which provides both power and connectivity back to the router via Wi-Fi.

By untethering the femtocell from the broadband connection, the AFC can be placed freely in the optimal indoor location to provide the strongest signal and best coverage. Further, in those markets where network operators require the location of the femtocell to be verified via GPS, the portability of the AFC makes it easy to achieve a rapid and accurate location fix.??

"The industry has focused a lot of effort on integrating femtocells into home gateways and set-top boxes, but that approach tethers the femtocell to the location of the home broadband connection, and can be expensive because every box bears the cost irrespective of whether the subscriber uses the femtocell feature," said ip.access founder and CTO Nick Johnson, in a statement. "The size, portability and functionality of the AFC provide greater flexibility without creating clutter in the home."

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