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Date: 16-02-11

Two new LTE base station SoC chips for designing scalable and portable sys

In this week the two leading DSP chip makers TI and Freescale Semiconductor have unveiled new base station SoC chips for designing flexible and portable LTE base stations.

Texas Instruments' new multistandard wireless base station System-on-Chip (SoC) developed in 40-nm process technology. Based on TI's new TMS320C66x digital signal processor (DSP) generation, the TMS320TCI6618 with programmable DSP cores allow design of base stations with techniques such as scheduling and multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) antenna processing. TI claims this SoC delivers double the LTE performance and a 2x power/performance improvement over existing macro and compact base station SoC solutions.

"This advanced SoC brings the unmatched performance and flexibility that enables Nokia Siemens Networks to extend our leadership position in commercial radio products," said Tommi Uitto, head of LTE business line, Nokia Siemens Networks. "We have truly software-defined radio in the baseband as well as in the radio frequency (RF) parts. With our LTE-ready products shipping to over 200 operators worldwide, we value the innovation and high quality that Texas Instruments technology and our deep co-operation continue to deliver."

TCI6618 has hardware acceleration feature to increase the SoC system performance to handle high speed data of 3G and 4G. This base station SoC supports iterative decoding techniques, such as turbo interference cancellation, which can yield up to 40 percent or more spectral efficiency over conventional decoding techniques.

"TI is effectively breaking the constraints of Moore's Law with their new base station SoC, by doubling performance in less than six months and not changing any process nodes to achieve it," said Jagdish Rebello, Senior Director and Principal Analyst, IHS-iSuppli. "Wireless infrastructure developers stand to benefit from these advancements in performance, features and time to market, all suited for the demands of 4G networks."

The TCI6618 complements TI's recently announced TCI6616 wireless base station SoC. Both solutions are pin and software compatible.
The advantages of this chip as listed by TI includes:

1. TCI6618 supports design of scalable and portable macro to small cell base stations.
2. 5x performance improvement in critical algorithms such as MIMO and scheduling - both key areas of      differentiation for customers.
3. New multistandard Bit Rate Coprocessor (BCP) accelerates bit rate processing for LTE, WCDMA,     TD-SCDMA and WiMAX.
4. Scalable KeyStone architecture provides a non blocking 2 Tbps switch fabric, featuring high     throughput system interconnect and zero copy multicore infrastructure.
5. Industry leading power reduction technologies, including TI's SmartReflex power management,      memory retention and dynamic power management, deliver lowest power levels for base stations.
6. Enable software defined radio with a simplified programming model.

Freescale Semiconductor has also introduced equally powerful base station SoC chip family called QorIQ Qonverge series which is scalable and share the single architecture to address multi-standard requirements spanning from femto cells to macro cells optimizes R&D investments and software reuse.

The multicore QorIQ Qonverge integrates communications processing, digital signal processing and wireless acceleration technologies into a single system-on-chip in various configurations optimized for next-generation femtocell, picocell, metrocell and macrocell base stations. Freescale says advanced process technology and exceptional integration allow the convergence of multiple functions traditionally performed on separate FPGAs, ASICs, DSPs and processors to be incorporated on a single device.

"The current explosion in mobile data traffic worldwide provides unique challenges and opportunities for wireless infrastructure equipment providers as they race to increase capacity and capability," said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's Networking and Multimedia Group. "Freescale's highly integrated QorIQ Qonverge portfolio enables base station manufacturers to provide a dramatic, step-function improvement in performance, power and cost in a single, flexible architecture."

Freescale claims QorIQ Qonverge technology can deliver 4x cost reduction and 3x power reduction for LTE + WCDMA macro base stations, and 4x cost and power reductions for LTE + WCDMA pico base stations when compared to wireless infrastructure equipment powered by discrete silicon products.

"By integrating multiple industry-leading technologies into one scalable product line, Freescale's QorIQ Qonverge portfolio delivers significant innovation that advances the state of wireless networking at this pivotal time for the industry," said Will Strauss, president and principal analyst of Forward Concepts. "The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio presents a unique solution and strengthens Freescale's position as a processing technology leader in the wireless infrastructure space."

QorIQ Qonverge processors combine multiple Power Architecture cores and high-performance StarCore DSPs with a MAPLE multimode baseband accelerator, packet processing acceleration engines, interconnect fabric and next-node process technology. The portfolio's products support multiple standards, including GSM, LTE - FDD & TDD, LTE-Advanced, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and WiMAX.

"Freescale's innovative QorIQ Qonverge platform provides the integration, performance, energy efficiency and unmatched scalability that our new lightRadio product portfolio requires," said Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent's Wireless Division. "Game-changing products like lightRadio disaggregate the base station between the network and the wideband active antenna, produce dramatic cost savings and need components that provide giant leaps forward such as Freescale's new QorIQ Qonverge technology."

"Freescale's QorIQ Qonverge product line gives us the flexibility to cost-effectively address the widest possible small cell market by providing a common architecture and multimode capabilities, along with the programmability for us to incorporate our own advancements," said Michael Clark, Airvana's general manager for femtocell business. "We look forward to working with Freescale to help accelerate the deployment of small cells in next-generation wireless networks."

"The integration of StarCore DSP technology with Power Architecture cores in the new Freescale QorIQ Qonverge portfolio is a major advancement for the wireless industry. We see great potential for this class of heterogeneous multi-core designs," said Glenn Perry, general manager of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. "The Mentor Embedded Linux platform for Freescale devices combined with CodeSourcery software development tools will enable our mutual customers to develop advanced, innovative and scalable systems with increased performance and power efficiency."

According to analyst firm Infonetics, radio access network base station spending is projected to be $197 billion worldwide over the next four years.

The first products in Freescale's QorIQ Qonverge multicore portfolio are built in 45-nm process technology and planned for availability in the second half of 2011. The products are the PSC9130/PSC9131 femto SoCs and PSC9132 picocell/enterprise femto SoC devices. Freescale plans to introduce portfolio members targeting larger cell (metro and macro) base stations built in 28-nm process technology later this year.

PSC9130/31 Femto SoC
8-16 users (WCDMA, LTE, CDMA2K) and simultaneous multimode
2x2 MiMO
1x e500 and 1x SC3850
MAPLE-B2F acceleration

PSC9132 Pico/Enterprise Femto SoC
32-64 users (WCDMA, LTE) and simultaneous multimode
2x4 MiMO
2x e500 and 2x SC3850
MAPLE-B2P acceleration

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