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November 12, 2010

Texas Instruments Announces Wireless 4G Network Processor Chip

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

Semiconductor solution provider Texas Instruments (News - Alert) announced the launch of industry’s first wireless base station System-on-a-Chip (SoC) with the 4G class performance required to tame the wireless data deluge.

This powerful base station solution allows manufacturers and operators to have the most advanced technology from TI needed to deliver the 4G promise, company officials said.

Built on TI’s new TMS320C66x digital signal processors or “DSPs” and KeyStone multicore architecture, the new TMS320TCI6616 SoC delivers more than double the performance of any 3G/4G SoC in the market, according to company officials.

The TCI6616, TI officials said, is the industry’s first multicore DSP that processes both fixed and floating point math. This capability of TCI6616 simplifies wireless base station software design.

TI’s TCI6616 SoC features three critical elements: field proven PHY technology, an autonomous packet processing engine and programmable DSPs enabling full multicore entitlement. These elements work together to provide developers a SoC with immense compute power ideally suited for the challenges of 4G networks.

These features, according to TI officials, facilitate customers’ development of more robust, multimode base stations that help operators optimize their spectral, financial and network resources.

Implemented as configurable coprocessors, TI PHYs enable Software Defined Radio or “SDR” which allows operators to rationally migrate to emerging standards without needing external components. 

With autonomous packet processing capability, TCI6616 manages packets from both core and radio networks, offloading packet processing and freeing cycles for algorithms that enhance spectral efficiency, company officials said.

The autonomous operation of the packet coprocessors helps in simplifying design and reducing costs for developers. These configurable coprocessors target all major wireless standards, and they yield the performance equivalent of over 250 DSPs.

“Our TCI6616 SoC is going to shake things up as there is no other base station technology in the market that solves operators’ challenges like ours,” said Brian Glinsman, general manager of TI’s communications infrastructure business, in a statement. “We are delivering on all fronts of performance, price and innovation.”

When combined with TI’s new C66x DSP cores, TCI6616 delivers unprecedented programmable performance. The four C66x cores in the multicore TCI6616 provide the performance needed for custom IP implementations that base station developers rely on for product differentiation.

In another recent announcement, TI unveiled a new single-stage LED lighting pulse width modulation or “PWM” controller. The TRIAC-dimmable solution regulates LED current and also achieves near unity power factor, company officials said in the announcment.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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