Femtocell vs Picocell vs Microcell | difference between femtocell, picocell and microcell

This page compares femtocell vs picocell vs microcell and mentions difference between femtocell, picocell and microcell.

Small cells are miniaturized Base Stations which provide short range wireless communication at low power. They are used both indoors and outdoors to cover small geographical area. They have same characteristics as Base Stations and provide high data rate for individual users.

Network of 5G small cells

They are used in LTE-advanced and 5G New Radio deployments to deliver high speed broadband and low latency applications. They are used in dense areas with high number of users such as stations, airports, sports venues, movie theatres, shopping malls etc.

The benefits of small cells are as follows.
• Faster deployments• Cost Effective• higher data rates to individual users • Cellular network coverage extension and improvement in network capacity • Efficient use of frequency spectrum and so on.

Based on coverage area and support for number of users, small cells are classified into femtocells, picocells and Microcells.

What is Femtocell

Small cell which has following features and provide extended coverage for residential and enterprise applications is called femtocell. Femtocells are used to offload network congestion, serve areas with weak cellular signal strength, extend coverage and increase the data capacity for indoor users.

The key features of femtocell are as follows.
• Coverage : 10 to 50 meters
• Power : 100 mwatts
• Capacity : 8 to 16 users
• Applications : Indoor (Primary use) , Outdoor
• Backhaul : Wired connection, fiber connection

What is Picocell

Small cell which has following features and used for small enterprise applications 'to extend network coverage and data throughput is called Picocell.

The key features of picocell are as follows.
• Coverage : 100 to 250 meters
• Power : 250 mwatts (Typically)
• Capacity : 32 to 64 users
• Applications : Indoor use in offices, hospitals, schools, shopping centers
• Backhaul : Wired connection, fiber connection

What is Microcell

Small cell which support slightly large number of users compare to femtocell and picocell is known as Microcell. Due to high transmission power it can be used for smart cities and smart metro applications requiring larger coverage.

The key features of microcell are as follows.
• Coverage : 500 meters to 2.5 Kms
• Power : 2 to 5 watts
• Capacity : up to 200 users ( simultaneous )
• Applications : Outdoor
• Backhaul : Wired connection, fiber connection, Microwave links

Femtocell vs Picocell vs Microcell

Following table compares Femtocell vs Picocell vs Microcell and mentions comparison between them.

Specifications Femtocell Picocell Microcell
Transmit power 20 dBm (~ 100 milliwatts) 24 dBm (~ 250 milliwatts) 33 dBm (~ 2 Watts)
coverage distance About 30 meters About 100 meters About 500 meters
Backhaul connectivity Broadband X2 interface X2 interface
Access mode Closed Subscriber Group(CSG) Open to all users Open to all users
Deployment location Indoor Indoor as well as outdoor outdoor
Installation By the user By the operator By the operator
Cost Very cheap Cheap Expensive

Above mentioned different sized small cells are used in combination to create heterogeneous network. HetNet is a Radio Access Network which comprises conventional macrocells along with many small cells ranging from femtocells, picocells and microcells. Refer advantages and disadvantages of small cells.

Femtocell tutorial related links

Femtocell Tutorial  Femtocell Architecture  Femtocell Testing  LTE Femtocell Manufacturers  Femtocell vs WiFi  Femtocell types  Femtocell interference  timing and synchronization  Handover 

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