TI Debuts Multi-Carrier, Multi-Standard Platform for Base Stations

With its eye on customers’ development costs and challenges, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) [NYSE: TXN] announced a scalable, programmable development ecosystem enabling base station OEMs to support multiple carriers of established and evolving wireless standards from a single platform. Based on TI’s multicore TMS320TCI6487 and TMS320TCI6488 digital signal processors (DSPs) and multi-interface software libraries, the development platform covers all major air interfaces including GSM-EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA , LTE and WiMAX. With a single development platform, OEMs largely “design once-deploy multiple” base stations, significantly reducing design costs, while speeding the deployment of new 3G features and beyond 3G standards.

In addition to reducing development time, TI makes designing easier by supporting both MAC and PHY layer processing on the same platform. The high performance DSP platform also eliminates the need for an expensive, power-hungry FPGA, with the exception of WiMAX designs. CommAgility, a designer and manufacturer of high performance embedded signal processing cards, uses TI’s multicore DSP to support its AdvancedMC(TM) module AMC-6487 product, targeted at high-performance processing roles in wireless baseband and other applications. The board is designed around three TMS320C6487 DSPs or the pin-compatible TMS320C6488 DSP and an optional WiMAX-required FPGA, providing wireless baseband developers the processing power they need to support their high-capacity solutions.

“As wireless air interfaces continue to evolve across global cellular networks, operators can greatly benefit from a multi-standard, multi-carrier base station processing platform,” said Nadine Manjaro, senior analyst for mobile networks at ABI Research. “The flexibility and efficiency of TI’s new multi-standard ecosystem will allow operators to upgrade easily between GSM/WCDMA/HSPA and LTE, all from a single platform.”

Multi-Carrier Platform Reduces Operator Investment
TI’s baseband platform delivers significant CAPEX savings to the operator by offering the highest number of carriers per channel card and enabling them to support new features and standards on the same baseband hardware.

The table below highlights the capacities supported by CommAgility’s AMC-6487 baseband card for some key commercial wireless standards:

  • GSM/ EDGE: 6-carrier, 3-sector solution
  • WCDMA/ HSPA/ HSPA+: 1-carrier, 3-sector solution
  • TD-SCDMA: 6-carrier solution
  • LTE: 3-carrier 10MHz solution
  • WiMAX: 3-carrier 10MHz solution

The cost savings and flexibility offered by the DSP-based AMC-6487 common baseband platform also helps the OEM differentiate their network infrastructure products.

Multi-Standard Platform Increases Operator Flexibility
The multi-standard DSP platform from TI provides the operators with the flexibility to support new standards and features based on market need. For example, 3G operators can use the TI DSP-based platform to support WCDMA-HSPA today and upgrade to HSPA+ or LTE on the same hardware when they see the market need for these new applications. Similarly, TD-SCDMA operators can upgrade to LTE-TDD, and in some cases GSM-EDGE operators can upgrade to LTE.

Multicore DSPs Enable End-to-End Performance
The TCI6487 and TCI6488 wireless infrastructure baseband processors make use of TI’s TMS320C64x+TM DSP core and an abundance of performance power to support processing-intensive high density applications. The multicore DSPs have on-chip accelerators which eliminate the need for an FPGA or a microprocessor for GSM-EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and LTE applications. Both DSPs include OBSAI and CPRI compliant antenna interfaces on chip that support direct connectivity over the backplane to a RF transceiver card or to a remote radio head (RRH).

As the only semiconductor provider to offer a complete analog signal chain for 2G/3G/Beyond3G air interfaces, TI also offers OEMs a complete portfolio of high performance analog products, including optimized RF products, high performance data converters, clock devices and power management products.

“The carrier and bandwidth requirements of current and evolving wireless air interfaces challenge base station OEMs to select a platform that can quickly meet the processing demands of high-density baseband applications,” said Jerold Givens, TI’s general manager for communications infrastructure solutions. “The flexibility and scalability of TI’s multi-carrier base station platform allows OEMs to secure their hardware investment by addressing all of the wireless standards on a unified platform and maximize the efficiency of their networks.”

Availability
The AMC-6487 common baseband card based on TI’s multi-core DSP is currently sampling and will be available in 2Q08 from CommAgility.

More information: Texas Instruments