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CES Feature Articles

January 07, 2011

Picochip Unveils Femtocell Technology Innovations at CES


Picochip has unveiled a new concept of a basestation on a USB dongle, in addition to other technology innovations, at CES (News - Alert) 2011. These encompass the company’s vision for next-generation femtocells.


The company is showcasing its picoXcell technology that will allow its customers to create an entire 3G cellular basestation in an ultra-small form factor such as a USB dongle.

Other technology concepts to be introduced at CES by Picochip include enabling technology for small form factor public access HSPA+ femtocells referred to as picocells or microcells; picoArray technology that is already delivering 4G services around the world and the company’s new platform for dual mode (LTE (News - Alert) and HSPA+) small cells.

Operators will be able to add HSPA+ home-basestation capabilities to appliances by using the ultra-small femtocells. They can simply plug in a USB key to appliances like residential gateways, cable modems and set-top boxes.

Company sources explained that a “private cellsite” solution like this will solve consumer problems of ‘not-spots’ or coverage holes, deliver faster data services than conventional cells and improve battery life besides enabling new “home zone” services.

Rupert Baines (News - Alert), vice presient of marketing at Picochip, said in a release, “It may sound incredible, but within a matter of months we'll be able to fit a complete 3G basestation on a USB dongle.”

“The last year has shown just how versatile femtocell technology is. We believe that giving our customers the ability to put a femtocell on a USB dongle enables huge opportunities for Picochip, network equipment suppliers, makers of consumer products and service providers. It’s part of our vision for driving the market forward. And for end users, access to enhanced cellular services will become as simple as plugging in a USB key,” Baines added.

Picochip sources explained that the availability in advanced semiconductor processing and packaging processes, signal processing algorithms and systems integration capabilities and the introduction of USB 3.0 have made USB femtocell into a realistic possibility.

This development leverages Picochip’s optimized range of silicon and software products designed especially for high-volume manufacturers of residential HSPA+ femtocells. These are capable of delivering optimized system power budget reducing the total component cost of a 3G femtocell.

Picochip’s picoXcell family of optimized silicon devices caters to the needs of a fast growing femtocell access points market. Its picoArray family of flexible wireless processors is considered most suitable for OFDMA-based network equipment


Shamila Janakiraman is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Shamila’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf





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