A femtocell is a small low-powered base station designed to provide mobile phone service over a small area, typically a house or a small office. If a customer requires reception in an area where the normal signal provided by the towers are weak, a femtocell can be used to route data over the house or office’s fixed line broadband connection. For example, Maxis has a femtocell service called Sure Signal.

But imagine a femtocell in your car? This year’s Mobile World Congress happening now in Barcelona sees BMW showcase a Vehicular Small Cell research project together with peiker acustic GmbH & Co. KG and Nash Technologies GmbH.

In this case, the femtocell functions as a repeater. It connects to the mobile network via an antenna outside the car. This antenna would naturally have better reception compared to your mobile devices inside the car as the vehicle itself would block some of that signal goodness.

It then functions as a small low powered base station inside the car, so all your mobile devices connects to it instead of the usual towers. Other than better signal strength, it also allows your mobile devices to transmit at very low power, which reduces radiation as well as reduces battery consumption. I’m sure you realise that in places with weak signal strength, your mobile device batteries start to drain quicker.