Actually the DSP cores do not really do all the heavy processing. For some of the key algorithms you have MAPLE (in case of Freescale); it is like you have your custom ASIC on SOC. From my point of view the strength of the solution is the integration of power, accelerator and DSP in the same SOC enabling smaller size and less power. The competition between base-station providers will move more into the RF and antenna components part..
Base-station providers can make their own SOC but I just want to see who has the money and time to do this sort of staff…
In terms of FPGA, they will be around in solutions as long as there is no common interface from ADCs to DSPs. Still hope that JESD 204 will be supported someday… or any other..
I believe the FPGA players have a challenge defending their base station position because their chips cost so much. Moving to CPU+DSP SoCs should be able to reduce the semiconductor bill of materials by something like **90%**.
Very good write up.
"Freescale is rolling out a scalable, multimode wireless base station ....designed to scale from small cells (Femto and Pico) .... "
the Femto cell referred here is what Qualcomm also is after??? Can you please also write on where does Qualcomm stand in this race?
Very good write up. We in Epigon (www.epigon.in) use Virtex 5 FPGA for OFDM Phy. For higher bandwidth ( may be higher side of 1.5 mbps), we found even Virtex 5 not able to provide computing resources. My question is : How much bandwidth processing cab be done in these two DSP's ( from TI and Freescale). In a sense, is it possible to mod and demod more then 2 mbps OFDM phy in the above DSP's. In case yes, then epigon will be happy to migrate from FPGA's to DSP's. For low bandwidth Modems we use TI5510 DSP and Blackfin DSP. you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I think KB3001 does have a point; FPGA guys are also trying to get into the base station market by replacing DSP and Microprocessor functionalities. But what determines the winner in the end is not the hardware functionalities; but credible tools and ecosystem they can offer on the network equipment market.