The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has adopted an official architecture for 3G femtocell home base stations.
The 3GPP wants to have the new standard done by the end of this year, which appears to be an aggressive time schedule given the fact that vendors had various approaches to building a femtocell base station. The agreed upon architecture follows an access network-based approach, leveraging existing standards, called IU-cs and Iu-ps interfaces, into the core service network. The result is a new interface called Iu-h.
The architecture defines two new network elements, the femtocell and the femtocell gateway. Between these elements is the new Iu-h interface. This solution was backed by Alcatel-Lucent, Kineto Wireless, Motorola and NEC.
All of the femtocell vendors must go back and change their access point and network gateway equipment to comply with the new standard interface.
All femtocell vendors will have to make changes to their access points. Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, NEC, and those that already use Kineto's GAN approach, such as Ubiquisys, will have the least work to do.
Kineto Wireless, Inc., announced its full support for the 3GPP agreement reached last week on the Home NodeB (HNB) architecture for femtocell-to-core network connectivity. Recognizing that a standard is needed for the mass-market success of femtocells, Kineto took a lead role in developing consensus among the contributing companies. Having an agreed architecture marks a major milestone towards the completion of a global 3G femtocell standard.
The agreed 3GPP HNB architecture follows an access network-based approach, leveraging the existing Iu-cs and Iu-ps interfaces into the core service network. The architecture defines two new network elements, the HNB (a.k.a. Femtocell) and the HNB Gateway (a.k.a. Femto Gateway). Between these elements is the new Iu-h interface.
- Home NodeB (HNB) – Connected to an existing residential broadband service, an HNB provides radio coverage for standard 3G handsets within a home. HNBs incorporate the capabilities of a standard NodeB as well as the radio resource management functions of a standard Radio Network Controller (RNC).
- HNB Gateway (HNB-GW): Installed within an operator’s network, the HNB Gateway aggregates traffic from a large number of HNBs back into an existing core service network through the standard Iu-cs and Iu-ps interfaces.
- Iu-h Interface: Residing between an HNB and an HNB-GW, the Iu-h interface includes a new HNB application protocol (HNBAP) for enabling highly-scalable, ad-hoc HNB deployment. The interface also introduces an efficient, scalable method for transporting Iu control signaling over the Internet.
With an agreement on an underlying femtocell architecture, 3GPP has now transitioned to the phase of developing detailed specifications. This work is targeted for completion by the end of 2008.
- 3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard - Unstrung
- The 3GPP Home Node-B (HNB) Standard FOR FEMTOCELLS - Kineto
- 3GPP TR 25.820 - 3GPP
- 3GPP workshop on Home Node B's in, Jeju, Nov. 2007