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A picocell is a small cellular base station (BS) that is an alternative to a repeater or distributed antenna system. It is used to extend wireless services to building interiors or other areas that cannot be reached by networks that serve larger cell towers. It is also useful in securing voice and data connectivity to smaller interior areas.Picocells range in size from a laptop computer to an entire room or space. An example is the size of a large suitcase.
Various types of telecom networks use picocells to provide services to more users. In a way, these setups are like the local area networks (LAN) served by individual wireless routers, where a picocell station takes a signal from a larger network and distributes it to a very local range.Picocells are maintained and operated by a larger network provider, whereas femtocells are often designed to operate more autonomously when getting local feedback for radio frequency and protocol evaluation. Both types of small network extenders are emerging as commonly used components in the telecom IT industry.