An indoor cellular access point that routes cellphone calls over the Internet. Connecting to the home or office network, which must have a broadband Internet connection, the femtocell is like a mini cell tower with a range of approximately 5,000 square feet. Femtocells work with standard cellphones and eliminate the need for dual-mode phones that switch between cellular and Wi-Fi service. They also support several people making cellphone calls at the same time.|
With a femtocell, people can make and receive calls inside buildings where cellular reception may be poor. In addition, calls that traverse the femtocell and Internet often fall under fixed-rate plans that do not use cellphone minutes, a relief to cellular carriers with overburdened networks. Contrast with mobile broadband router.
AIRAVE, MicroCell, Network Extender
In 2007, Sprint introduced AIRAVE, the first cellphone femtocell in the U.S. In 2009, AT&T and Verizon introduced the MicroCell and Network Extender respectively. The WiMAX wireless system also promotes the use of femtocells for improved indoor coverage (see WiMAX).
The femtocell is a mini cell tower that routes cellphone calls over the Internet.