Netgear unveils Femtocell residential gateway

Public demonstration scheduled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week

Netgear has unveiled its Femtocell Voice Gateway, which it will publicly demonstrate for the first time at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

Based on 3G femtocell technology from Ubiquisys, Netgear claims that the DVG834GH is the world's first single-box solution that includes a residential gateway with integrated ADSL2+ modem, router, 10/100 wired LAN switch, 802.11g wireless access point, Voice over-IP (VoIP), and SPI double firewall.

The DVG834GH is a 3G access point that plugs into an ADSL line and enables users to share their broadband connection to the Internet with all of their mobile devices and networked computers, both wired and wirelessly, providing mobile operators with the means to deliver both wired and wireless broadband connectivity to converged home networks.

Femtocells are mobile access points that connect to a mobile operator's network using residential DSL or cable broadband connections. They have been developed to work with a range of different standards including CDMA, GSM and UMTS.

Femtocells have the potential to make Wi-Fi networks redundant because they use less power and have a longer range. The downside is that such technology will only be available from mobile network operators as they own the licences covering the frequencies that 3G operates in.

From a consumer point of view, Netgear's DVG834GH must be as painless to install and use as an existing cordless telephone or wireless router: take it out of the box, plug it in and use it immediately. Consumers will expect to have the system up and running in a matter of minutes. Netgear's Smart Wizard Install Assistant should ease installation and management by automatically detecting and configuring the gateway for ISP connections.

The DVG834GH's double firewall (NAT + SPI) should help protect the network against intruders and malicious attacks, including logs and alerts of break-in attempts, while the VPN pass-through should allow safe connections to business networks. The gateway is also suitable for VoIP because it supports SIP and several popular codecs. Designed to industry standards-based specifications with TR-069 Remote Management, the gateway supports the future addition of such advanced features as IGMP Multimedia Support.

"The proliferation of advanced multimedia applications and fixed mobile convergence now requires the existence of reliable home networks with fast Internet access, which can also support applications via mobile phones and other handheld devices," said David James, director of service provider products at Netgear.

Evaluation units of the DVG834GH are available now for operator testing, with commercial availability expected during the first half of 2008.

Ubiquisys femtocells are currently in trials with ten mobile operators. Femtocells will be locked to an operator, at least at first, but they want to get the cost as low as possible, and to get away from subsidies. There could eventually be SIM-free femtos on the shelves.

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