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Software, hardware platform fit small cell LTE

Posted: 14 Sep 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:femtocell  software hardware  LTE  3G 

picoChip is extending its range of development systems for the emerging femtocells market, with a hardware and software platform targeting small cell Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations.

Dubbed the PC9608/9, the system integrates base band, software stack and RF, reducing barriers to entry for new suppliers and accelerating time to market of small form factor LTE products.

The core of the platform is a carrier class software-defined LTE modem that is compliant with 3GPP standards and can be rapidly optimised and customised for prototyping via an application programming interface.

Based on picoChip's PC203 picoArray silicon, the system supports both TDD and FDD versions of LTE, and a variety of 3GPP-defined frequencies and bandwidth specifications within the standard. The hardware is integrated into a compact, robust chassis based on the MicroTCA architecture.

Many in the industry feel that LTE will require a dense network of small cells optimised for high-capacity data services to deliver on its full potential. picoChip suggests the PC9608/9 is optimised for this "metrozone" architecture (also dubbed LTE femto).

Aditya Kaul, senior analyst, mobile networks at ABI notes that wile LTE will most likely be deployed from the macro layer first, "operators realise that simply providing LTE coverage will not be enough. They will need to soon complement the macro network with targeted metro, enterprise and residential femtocell deployments."

ABI suggests that by 2014, shipments for LTE femtocells will reach 2 crore annually, with most supporting 3G in multi-mode.

Recent indications from the GSMA are that 12 carriers will have launched services by 2010, rising to 31 by end of 2011.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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