picoChip has announced that it is collaborating with mimoOn to deliver the industry's first complete LTE (Long Term Evolution) basestation reference design. The new PC86xx family of LTE reference designs cover the full range of eNode Bs from femtocells to multi-sector macrocells and is supported on the same common hardware platforms as picoChip's WiMAX products. The system and its MIMO capabilities will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona.
LTE is the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) 4G architecture and has been designed to improve the UMTS mobile phone standard to cope with future requirements. These include improving efficiency, lowering costs, improving services, making use of new spectrum opportunities, and better integration with other open standards. LTE has significant commonality with WiMAX, both being based on OFDMA in the downlink, all-IP architecture together with MIMO and adaptive antenna systems (AAS). The PC86xx builds on picoChip's success as the industry-standard WiMAX reference design, and both standards run on the same common hardware (picoChip PHY plus Wintegra MAC) platforms.
"The cellular world playing field has opened up with the transition to 4G and the battle lines for suppliers have never been more complex. Cellular giants have accelerated LTE at breakneck speed to shut out competing OFDM formats," said Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Rethink Research. "But WiMAX has shown how new entrants have become credible suppliers even to top tier operators. Some had believed LTE would be less open, but the introduction of such a reference design and common platform will enable many competitors. The industry aristocrats need be concerned – the revolution has begun."
The PC86xx LTE design runs on the same picoChip and Wintegra hardware platforms as the companies' industry standard WiMAX basestation reference designs. As in WiMAX, the family includes PHY and MAC and scales from single-chip femtocell access points (‘Home eNode B') to sophisticated multi-sector carrier macrocells from 1.25MHz to 20MHz. Both TDD and FDD modes are supported. The PHY runs on picoChip PC203 devices and includes OFDMA downlink and SC-FDMA uplink, with support for up to 4×4 MIMO and for AAS. The MAC, running on a Wintegra WinPath2 device includes PDCP, RLC, GTP, ROHC, ciphering / deciphering and RLC, including ARQ.
"mimoOn's expertise enabled the development of this LTE basestation solution – we are proud to be partnering with them," said Guillaume d'Eyssautier, president and CEO, picoChip. "It is crucial that we continue to provide our customers with the ability to develop systems on the latest wireless standards as they become available, to implement software upgrades as those standards are ratified, and to have the flexibility to improve them going forward. That is the picoChip chip advantage."
The LTE reference design empowers OEMs with faster time-to-market and lower development costs as they can focus their resources on adding value and differentiating their products. As a software-defined solution, it is future-proof and can be upgraded as the LTE standard is refined and updated. Finally, the common platform also supports WiMAX, with Wave 2 and MIMO available now, and upgrades for Release 1.x (FDD) and 16m.
"We are pleased to be partnering with picoChip on this next-generation wireless design. For such a powerful device, the picoArray is a dream to develop on," commented Thomas Kaiser, CEO mimoOn. "Designing with such an efficient architecture represents a sheer step in the ease of software integration and product development. As such, we have been able to deliver a very versatile, very flexible LTE solution to meet the needs of manufacturers."