picoChip today unveiled the PC333, the first chip specifically designed to extend the femtocell into the realm of public access infrastructure such as metro femto, rural femto and strand-mounted systems.

According to the company, the PC333 System-on-Chip (SoC) device is the first femtocell chip to support 32 channels (scalable to 64) for simultaneous voice and HSPA+ data, the first to support MIMO, the first to support soft-handover and the first to conform to the Local Area Basestation (LABS) standard.

picoChip says that the PC333 enables small basestations for urban hot-spots, city-centers or public access to be made and deployed at a cost far lower than traditional approaches, “radically changing the economics of network infrastructure.”

The PC333 is the highest-specification femtocell available, and represents a significant step in bringing a complete 3GPP Release 8 Local Area 42Mbps HSPA+ basestation onto a single-chip.

LABS is the 3GPP definition for systems with higher performance than home-basestations, allowing higher capacity, 120km/h mobility and +24dBm output power for greater than 2km range.

The PC333 supports 32 channels, each with both voice and HSPA+ data and, with picoChip’s smartSignaling technology, in excess of 400 simultaneous smartphone users. Two of the devices can also be cascaded to support 64 active channels. The product runs on a 700MHz ARM chip with TrustZone and variety of specialized hardware features for security. As well as LABS conformance and release 8 HSPA+ (42Mbps downlink, 11 Mpbps uplink), the PC333 supports soft handover, receive diversity and MIMO.

“Someday, all basestations will be made like this,” asserted Doug Pulley, CTO of picoChip. “With the PC333 we have extended the parameters of femtocell performance to levels that would traditionally have been considered as ‘picocell’ or even ‘microcell’. This high performance coupled with zero-touch provisioning means carriers can routinely deploy femtocells as part of their wide-area network rollouts. We are already seeing the emergence of femtocells into rural and metropolitan-area basestations,” he added.

“As data traffic rises inexorably, it is evident that conventional macrocell architectures cannot cope both from a cost and capability point of view. Service providers are going to be deploying different, innovative basestation architectures to address this challenge effectively,” stated Simon Saunders, Chairman of The Femto Forum.

The PC333 will be sampled in 4Q2010 to “lead customers.”

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