Reference design for HSDPA/HSUPA home basestation

9th March 2006
ES Admin
picoChip has announced a reference design for an ultra-low cost 3G/HSDPA basestation for use in a home or small office as an alternative to WiFi and UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access). The PC8208 modem reference design for a 3G access point or “femtocell” basestation supports HSDPA with a software upgrade to HSUPA.
The reference design is said to enable an OEM to develop a femtocell with the lowest bill of materials and fastest time-to-market of any solution available today. Such a system enables cellular operators to counter competitors offering UMA or voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi), but allows customers to use existing standard cellular handsets.

The picoChip Node B software reference design provides a modem that is fully compliant to 3GPP Rel5 2005-06 (FDD) for four users with a 200m range, and supports 7Mb/s High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA). Software upgrade to HSUPA will be available next year. The reference design includes all baseband processing (sample rate, chip rate and symbol rate operations), as well as MAC-hs scheduler, operations and management (OAM) functionality and protocol termination. It complements picoChip’s other proven reference designs for advanced wireless systems, including the industry-standard solution for WiMAX basestations.

Mobile operators increasingly perceive a threat from the convergence of WiFi, VoIP and fixed telephony within the home, and are seeking a way to increase their share of the residential calls market. The femtocell or home-basestation supports cellular calls locally, and then uses broadband, typically DSL or cable modem, to carry traffic to the operator’s core network. Crucially, as a standard 3G basestation, it operates with all existing handsets rather than requiring customers to upgrade to expensive dual-mode devices. This provides cellular carriers with an effective means of countering the threat of VoIP, UMA or VoWiFi. As the same handset is used for all calls, it improves customer loyalty and reduces churn, as barriers to changing operators increase. An additional benefit is that both network coverage and capacity are increased in a cost-effective manner, exactly where they are most needed by the end user.

From the customer’s perspective a home basestation offers the benefit of using a single mobile handset with a built-in personal phonebook for all calls, whether from home or elsewhere. This eliminates user frustration caused by changing between handsets with different interfaces and functionality.

“Small basestation designs proposed by other vendors have taken a different approach,” commented Doug Pulley, Chief Technical Officer of picoChip. “They use designs originally intended for a macrocell application, wholly inappropriate for this environment. The picoChip architecture is specifically optimized for this important new application, and provides the fastest and lowest cost route for OEMs to develop a residential access point.”

The PC8208 is the latest addition to the picoChip family of reference designs for 3G basestation applications. The PC8218 picocell and PC8228 microcell designs were both announced and demonstrated last year.

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