3G basestation design leverages femtocell technology

Cambridge Consultants' HSDPA/HSUPA-compatible WCDMA basestation radio design for femtocells significantly reduces bill of materials costs by implementing all functions on two chips—a picoChip DSP and a radio IC.

Although used in a basestation, the two-chip radio is based on a consumer-grade handset component. It extends picoChip's reference design into 3G basestations in the home (femtocells) and gives developers an exceptionally low-cost implementation for a global market expected to grow to 100 million units per annum within a few years.

From a business perspective, femotcell products allow cellular operators to counter the competitive technologies of UMA (Universal Mobile Access) and VoWiFi (voice-over-WiFi), while allowing customers to use their existing standard cellular handsets.

A detailed analysis of femtocell technology is available at picoChip defies the odds.

The design breaks new ground by adapting an IC created for low-cost/high-volume handset applications to implement the high-specification basestation radio. It also implements an architectural split to exploit the high performance of picoChip' picoArray DSP device to perform the baseband and system control functions.

Alternative implementations can require more expensive carrier-class radio components, combined with processing cores based on both DSP and FPGA technologies. The 3G basestation design supports HSDPA and HSUPA (high speed downlink packet access and uplink packet access) data rates of 7 Mbits/second and 2 Mbits/second respectively.

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