Small cells are Low-powered radio access nodes, Operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum, Short range mobile phone base stations, Range from very compact residential femto-cells of area 10 meters to larger equipment used inside commercial offices or outdoor public spaces of area 1 or 2 kilometers, "small" compared to a mobile macro cell, with range of a few tens of kilometers, Complements mobile phone service from larger macro cell towers, Offer excellent mobile phone coverage and data speeds at home, in the office and public areas for both voice and data, Developed for both 3G and the newer 4G/LTE radio technologies.
Femto cells are Initially designed for residential and small business use with a short range and a limited number of channels. Femtocell devices use licenced radio spectrum. Femto cells must be operated and controlled by a mobile phone company, One cell with one mobile phone operator. When in range, the mobile phone will detect cell and use it in preference to the larger macrocell sites. Calls are made and received in exactly the same way as macrocell. Except, the signals are sent encrypted from the small cell via the public or private broadband IP network to one of the mobile operators main switching centres.