Home Node B

Home Node B

A Home Node B, or HNB, is the 3GPP's term for a 3G femtocell.

A Node B is an element of a 3G macro Radio Access Network, or RAN. A femtocell performs many of the function of a Node B, but is optimized for deployment in the home.


Within the 3GPP, the RAN Working Group 3 (WG3) has been assigned the task of developing a standard interface between a 3G femtocell and the mobile core network.

Recently the WG3 group completed work on a feasibility study and reference architecture as the basis for a new HNB standard. This is an important milestone towards completion of a full HNB standard.

While the full standards documents (stage 2 and stage 3) are not complete, the plan of record is for completion in December, 2008.


Within an HNB Access Network there are two new network elements. The first is the Home Node B (or femtocell), the second is the Home Node B Gateway, or HNB-GW.

Between the HNB and the HNB-GW is a new interface known as Iu-h.

Home NodeB (HNB) – Connected to an existing residential broadband service, an HNB provides 3G radio coverage for 3G handsets within a home. HNBs incorporate the capabilities of a standard Node B as well as the radio resource management functions of a standard Radio Network Controller RNC.

HNB Gateway (HNB-GW) - Installed within an operator’s network, the HNB Gateway aggregates traffic from a large number of HNBs back into an existing core service network through the standard Iu-cs and Iu-ps interfaces.

Iu-h Interface - Residing between an HNB and HNB-GW, the Iu-h interface defines the security architecture used to provide a secure, scalable communications over the Internet. The Iu-h interface also defines an efficient, reliable method for transporting Iu-based traffic as well as a new protocol (HNBAP) for enabling highly scalable ad-hoc HNB deployment.


* [http://www.unstrung.com/document.asp?doc_id=155580 3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard]
* [http://www.kinetowireless.com/news/press_releases/kineto_3GPP_Selects_Femtocell_Architecture.html 3GPP Selects Femtocell Architecture]
* [http://www.techworld.com/mobility/news/index.cfm?newsid=101674 Femtocells Get Surprise Standard]

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