CAMBRIDGE, UK: OysterCatcher is a new diagnostic solution which enables mobile operators to optimise radio performance in large scale deployments of ip.access femtocells.
OysterCatcher fine-tunes femtocell radio configurations, complementing the femtocell’s ability to adapt automatically to its local radio environment and to minimise interference with the surrounding macro network.
Developed by ip.access – the company whose Oyster 3G technology is at the heart of the world’s largest deployment of consumer femtocells with AT&T in the USA – OysterCatcher finds and diagnoses radio issues for individual femtocells in particularly challenging radio environments, where automated techniques alone are insufficient to deliver optimal performance.
These ‘edge-case’ scenarios may be insignificant in smaller femtocell deployments, but they can no longer be ignored when hundreds of thousands of femtocells are deployed in the network.
The OysterCatcher solution consists of probe software in the femtocell Access Point (AP) and server-side diagnostic tools. The probe software intelligently captures and uploads just the relevant diagnostic data from individual APs to a server-side database, which provides analytical tools for radio experts to diagnose and fix performance issues.
As well as enabling field issues to be fixed rapidly, OysterCatcher also provides key data for enhancing the algorithms used by the AP to manage radio resources and optimise performance automatically, aiding the development of true Self Organising and adaptive networks of femtocells.
Announcing the development, ip.access CEO Simon Brown said: “It’s important to remember that femtocell network performance is constantly evolving. For example, upgrades to handset firmware or changes to the macro network can all affect femtocell performance, which means that the job of diagnosing and improving the performance of the femto layer in the network is a continuous one – it’s not simply a question of optimising once and leaving the network to run by itself.
“Real-world data from OysterCatcher improves our algorithms for managing radio resources and selecting parameters to optimise Key Performance Indicators, such as speech quality and call drop rate,” explained Brown. “These algorithms work much more effectively than those based only on theory or simulation.
“The earliest adopters of new technology tend to be pretty tolerant,” said Brown. “But we are now moving rapidly towards mass market adoption, and OysterCatcher can help operators ensure that consumers get the best possible service from their femtocells.”
OsyterCatcher has been shortlisted for the ‘Femtocell network element design and technology innovation award’ at the 2011 Femto Forum Femtocell Industry Awards, which will be presented on 22 June.