Agilent Technologies Inc. recently introduced its Signaling Analyzer Real Time (SART) for Femto. This technology extends the test industry's most complete, end-to-end wireless analysis and troubleshooting solution to femtocells, which access wireless networks via consumer broadband connections. The platform supports both standards-based and proprietary femtocell implementations.

"Femtocell technology is sure to become quite popular in the near future because it will significantly improve both outdoor and indoor wireless communication," said Steve Urvik, Protocol Analysis and Diagnostics Marketing Manager for Agilent's Network Solutions Division. "However, since the technology is still emerging, network equipment manufacturers and service providers face formidable development challenges and need a comprehensive test tool to incorporate femtocells into existing UMTS networks."

SART for Femto enables users to move quickly from the lab through trials to successful deployment, and then manage operations and scale for subscriber growth. The solution provides an unprecedented combination of detailed real-time diagnostics, troubleshooting and historic analysis.

Femtocells benefit both operators and subscribers in several ways. For example, it allows carriers to offload traffic from an outdoor macro network, which provides that network with more capacity and thus higher performance for subscribers. It also allows operators to reach subscribers in previously uncovered rural areas. Femtocells eliminate the attenuation that inevitably occurs as signals from macro towers pass through walls and surfaces such as the silver-coated windows characteristic of modern buildings. But there are many deployment and maintenance challenges.