LONDON Wireless chip design group picoChip (Bath, England) is continuing to extend its range of development systems for the emerging femtocells market, with a hardware and software platform targeting "small cell" LTE basestations.
Dubbed the PC9608/9, the system integrates baseband, 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 optimized and customized for prototyping via an application programming interface (API).
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 optimized for high-capacity data services to deliver on its full potential.
picoChip suggests the PC9608/9 is optimized 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 realize 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 20 million annually, with most supporting 3G in multimode.
Recent indications from the GSMA are that 12 carriers will have launched services by 2010, rising to 31 by end of 2011.
Enterprise networks set to lead femtocell charge
Trio set to demo femtocell interoperability
Femtocell standard homes in on deployments
TI digs deeper into femtocells opportunity