Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

As with regular cellular networks, femtocell towers are expected to handle growing quantities of wireless data. “Increasingly the business case for femtocells has come to be about data, and offering that in a business environment is certainly one of the things we are looking at,” says Roland Guegel, product manager for Sprint’s Airvana-based femtocell product, dubbed Airave, which is currently offered to consumers or small businesses.

When a cell phone or other device is connected to a femtocell it gets dramatically faster wireless data than is possible outdoors. That’s because femtocells are always close to the devices they serve (the distance between a device and its nearest cell tower limits bandwidth). Femtocells also only share out a connection with a handful of devices at once compared to a conventional cell tower, which serves a large area. “You see data throughput that you just won’t see on the network outside,” says Guegel.

That could help support data-hungry devices like tablets as business tools. “Wi-Fi is a good option, but a more ubiquitous reliable cellular network is much better,” says Guegel. “With femtocells you can walk around indoors and out and get good service anywhere.”

Vodafone, the world’s largest wireless provider, which owns a 45 percent stake in Verizon, began offering femtocells this summer to 25,000 companies that had signed up for its Vodafone Office product, which provides a range of business communications tools in the cloud.

Guegel says connecting femtocells with cloud-based business software could create new possibilities. “It’s going to become standard, and there’s the potential to add other applications and services,” he says. “How about when someone walks in the door in the morning , the network spots their phone and they are automatically logged in as being at work, or they get sent an e-mail telling them their tasks for the day?”

10 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Communications, wireless, networking, bandwidth, cellphone, communication, femtocells

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me