picoChip Creates First HSUPA-femtocell Reference Design

picoChip announced the industry’s first HSUPA-femtocell reference design. Femtocells or 3G access points allow carriers to compete with VoWiFi, improving coverage at home and improving service. The new PC8209 adds HSUPA to picoChip’s industry standard reference design, as used by Ubiquisys, ipAccess and Dekolink among others. For 3G data HSUPA adds faster uplink and reduces latency, especially important for wireless Web 2.0 applications or on-line gaming.

The new PC8209 software will run on the same hardware platform as the company’s market-leading PC8208 offering, currently shipping to manufacturers and operators. This common hardware approach allows customers to add HSUPA capabilities to their basestations – including those already deployed in the field – with only a software upgrade. The PC8209 will be generally available later this year.

HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) increases the maximum theoretical 3G physical-layer link speed to 5.76Mb/s, significantly increasing efficiency when used in conjunction with its downlink equivalent, HSDPA. Just as importantly, HSUPA reduces network latencies and can allocate capacity to users with shorter delays and greater flexibility: essential features for real-time packet based applications and response-critical services such as multi-player gaming. picoChip’s PC8209 product fully supports the critical 2ms TTI (transmission time interval) specification which enables these features, as well as more responsive power control.

“HSUPA is a critical technology that will help service providers deliver low-latency broadband applications over 3G wireless networks,” said Gabriel Brown, chief analyst at Unstrung.com and author of a recent research report on femtocells. “Equipment manufacturers are looking for low-cost, standards-compliant components and reference designs that reduce time to market and meet the price points necessary for this market to take-off. As a pioneer of this technology, picoChip is the standout silicon play in the femtocell market.”

“picoChip is the leader in femtocell technology,” said Guillaume d’Eyssautier, president and CEO of picoChip. “No one else has shipped HSDPA femtocell basestation technology, and we are now in pole position with our new HSUPA offering. We are pleased to be extending this lead and enabling our customers to do the same.”

picoChip’s established PC8208 femtocell reference design was itself an industry-first, enabling an OEM to develop a product with dramatically lower bill of materials costs and faster time-to-market. The new PC8209 design combines a modem that is fully compliant to 3GPP Release 6 for four users with a 200m range, supporting 7Mb/s HSDPA and 2Mb/s HSUPA. 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. The PC8209 software upgrade will be released this year, allowing carriers to trial it by upgrading femtocells already installed. The picoChip modem software is suited to a variety of deployment architectures, including Iub over IP, UMA (through a partnership with Kineto) and all-IP (SIP or IMS based).

Figures from ABI Research predict that there will be 102 million femtocell users worldwide by 2011. Mobile operators are attracted to the concept because it allows them to counter the potential threat from converged WiFi, VoIP and fixed telephony services, whilst offering users the opportunity to use existing 3G handsets. The femtocell (or home-basestation) handles cellular calls locally and traffic is then carried to the operator’s core network via broadband: typically DSL or cable modem. This not only reduces the need for multiple handsets (or expensive dual-mode terminals), it also allows network coverage and capacity to be increased in a cost-effective manner, exactly where they are most needed by the end user.

picoArray is a registered trademark of picoChip.

More info: picoChip Designs Limited »