Rosum breaking into 911 via femtocells
Location-technology vendor Rosum may have found its way into the E911 wireless location scene after several years of testing and promoting its TV+GPS hybrid positioning technology.
The company has long demonstrated that its solution is much more accurate than current GPS solutions used in mobile handsets, but has not seen the technology adopted into handsets to date. However, Rosum is beginning to gain traction with femtocell vendors, which could eventually lead to deployments in handsets, said Todd Young, vice president of marketing with Rosum.
“Femtocells are a great place for us to start because integrating the technology into a femtocell is easier than integrating into a handset,” Young said.
The company’s solution already has been integrated into femtocells, otherwise known as home base stations. Rosum has a public relationship with 2Wire and is progressing with deals with additional manufacturers, Young said.
The move is significant given the fact that femtocells are poised for significant growth as commercial operators worldwide see them as important tools to expand mobile coverage and offload peak traffic. With potentially thousands of mobile customers buying these little boxes to boost their coverage and with a large share of 911 calls coming from mobile devices, the ability to identify mobile call locations when routed through femtocells has become an important capability.
The FCC has not ruled specifically on the E911 requirements for femtocells. However, many believe that the commission’s E911 Phase 1 regulations pertaining to the mobile industry that deliver the location of the cell site with the emergency call applies to a femtocell. However, recent activity within standard bodies developing femtocell standards suggests that many manufacturers are interested in providing more enhanced 911 solutions to femtocell customers.
Current GPS solutions available in mobile handsets won’t cut it, Young said. Typically, GPS-based solutions are effective in rural settings, where the GPS satellite has an unobstructed view of the caller. But the technology has not performed as effectively in dense urban settings. Network-based solutions that use triangulation tend to provide better location information in urban areas but are not as effective in rural areas with few cell sites.
Rosum’s technology integrates signals from existing commercial TV towers with signals from GPS satellites to support greater accuracy in all environments, including indoors. That means the system can indicate the exact floor of a building upon which the caller is located, which will be especially useful in apartment buildings.