The independent Femto Forum has launched an initiative designed to harmonise the integration of femtocells into core mobile networks.
The organisation warned that operator demand to launch femtocells quickly has led to the development of many different methods for integrating potentially millions of femtocells into network cores.
In light of this, the programme aims to unite these different approaches in the longer term and set the stage for the development of future standards.
The Femto Forum's next plenary in March 2008 will hear a variety of approaches to femtocell network integration put forward by members.
The best approaches will be identified and the Femto Forum will provide a framework within which consensus can be built around similar approaches.
It is hoped that the framework will enable vendors to respond quickly to operator demands for interoperability, and provide a platform from which members can advance the best approaches to the relevant standards bodies.
The Forum has already agreed a reference architecture to provide a consistent basis for comparison between the different network integration options.
A set of criteria that any integration method must meet in order to satisfy operator requirements has also been agreed, including scalability and multi-vendor support.
"Femtocells have got off to a flying start and more deployments will take place in the near future, but it is crucial that all the players in the market begin to plan together for the longer term," said Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum.
"Operators have been vocal about their desire for a more unified approach to femtocell network integration as the scale of deployments increases.
"This programme is the first time the femtocell community has come together to forge a future technology path through consensus.
This conjoined approach will encourage interoperability and increase economies of scale thereby helping keep costs low, and help to support far-reaching new femtocell applications."
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