Mindspeed pledges first multimode small cell deployment
Base station SoC maker incorporates technology from its Picochip acquisition to launch 3G/LTE base station on chip
Published: 15 February, 2012
A week after Mindspeed completed its acquisition of UK femtocell chip specialist Picochip, the companies have announced their first joint product. The dual-mode LTE/3G system-on-chip for small cells showcases how they hope to address the rising tide of carrier interest in tiny base stations, as a way to increase capacity and coverage in their new networks. They aim to stay at the leading edge of this trend by combining their relative strengths - Picochip's lead in femtocell SoCs, and Mindspeed's innovations in LTE with its Transcede integrated architecture.
Although most of the base station chip suppliers are describing multimode 'base stations on a chip', Mindspeed is confident that its T22xx and T3xx offerings, which are sampling now, will be the first to deploy in the real world. It will be targeting the new products at a substantial base for such a nascent market - between them, the two companies claim over 30 design wins for Transcede and a 70% share of the HSPA small cell space, and Picochip has enabled over 1m 3G units.
The multimode nature of the new Transcede processors are designed to simplify migration and integration between 3G and LTE, while extending Mindspeed's reach across residential, enterprise and metrozone applications. The Transcede family now includes NodeB and eNodeB SoCs supporting concurrent 3G and LTE processing, with support for both LTE flavors and for HSPA(+), W-CDMA and TD-SCDMA. There is also a roadmap to LTE-Advanced with the same architecture. Combining 3G and 4G reduces cost and time to market. The T22xx series comes in various models targeting residential, small office/home office and small enterprise applications, while the T33xx options are for enterprise, metro and picocell segments.
"We are moving quickly to combine Mindspeed's and Picochip's expertise and portfolios into an offering that is uniquely positioned to help carriers address the challenge of relentlessly growing data demand," said Mindspeed CEO Raouf Halim in a statement. "Our new dual-mode solutions will enable operators to support both 3G and LTE in a single unit, dramatically improving their business case by delivering twice the benefit at half the traditional per-node opex and capex costs."
Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts, was quote in the statement saying: "We expect that shipments of semiconductors for femtocells and picocells will grow tenfold by 2017 ... and dual-mode functionality will be essential for the best use of limited spectrum. Mindspeed leads the market in LTE design engagements with its Transcede family, and the addition of Picochip's 3G technology to this platform creates an extremely attractive proposition for OEMs developing multimode small cells."