Femtocells: not just for mobile operators

Anyone who thinks that femtocells are just a way for mobile operators to boost in-building signals in weak coverage areas is missing a major element in the space: cable.

While it was originally thought that cable would ignore femtos as nuisances that moved wireless data off mobile services and onto their wireline broadband networks, just the opposite might be happening, according to a TMCnet report which said that Comcast is testing the technology as a potential precursor to a WiMAX femtocell play.

Ubiquisys femtocellWiMAX and femtocells are not mutually exclusive, of course. "At one stage people actually saw femtos and WiMAX somehow as being in opposition. There is now much broader recognition that to not have femtos in your toolkit as a WiMAX operator really limits your ability to compete," said Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum during an interview last year.

It is therefore logical that Comcast, working with Clearwire as its 4G mobile broadband provider, would pursue femtocells to further enhance in-building WiMAX capabilities.

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