ip.access AFC portable femtocell offloads 3G/4G to WiFi

An iPhone-sized portable femtocell could make creating a private bubble of cellphone coverage straightforward in homes, offices, hotel rooms and public spaces, offloading smartphones and other mobile devices onto WiFi. The ip.access Advanced Femtocell Concept (AFC) works as existing products, like the AT&T 3G Microcell and Vodafone SureSignal, but can hook up to the internet via either a wired ethernet connection or WiFi.

Meanwhile, a power-dock keeps the AFC running while it's bridging your cellphone's 2G/3G/4G connection to your WiFi router. ip.access suggests production versions of the concept could be battery powered, meaning even greater flexibility in where the palmsized femtocell could be placed.

For instance, a hotel or bar WiFi connection could be used, with the AFC bridging that to get smartphones and other cellularly-enabled devices online for voice and data, even if there's no regular signal available. Integrated GPS could be used – along with auto-setup systems – to automatically get the AFC working with a public hotspot. Of course, it would also likely be used by carriers themselves to make sure subscribers weren't bypassing international roaming fees by using the ip.access kit abroad.

"In an LTE world, this would be the ultimate in personal metro zone hot spots" ip.access CTO Dr Nick Johnson concludes. The AFC is functional but unlikely to go on sale in its current form.