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January 2009 | Volume 12/ Number 1
Disaster Nitty Gritty

Applied Micro Circuits = Power-Efficient Base Stations

AMCC (News - Alert) or Applied Micro Circuits Corporation ( of Sunnyvale, California, is one of the few new generation of technology companies that has mastered the arcane art of building energy efficient solutions to process, transport, and store information for nextgen Internet data centers and carrier central offices. AMCC’s expertise extends from high-speed signal processing to IP and Ethernet packet processing, to storage controllers and processors. They own a boatload of patents involving high-speed mixed signals, Forward Error Correction, RAID, and packet processing provide high value solutions.

And now AMCC has demonstrated advanced technology for more power-efficient base stations. They can take two of their Power Architecture processors (running at 1 GHz and producing 4,000 DMIPS) and integrate them into a standard AdvancedTCA (News - Alert) Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) form factor. This configuration comprises their “Arches” reference design kit that provides base station developers with a turnkey platform that can consume less than 6 Watts per processor. The energy efficiency reduces heat dissipation in systems, thereby reducing the need for large heat sinks, elaborate cooling resources and additional facilities costs for operators. On-chip integration for the two PowerPC 460 GT processors offers high-speed interfaces for industry-standard solutions based on Serial RapidIO (News - Alert), Gigabit Ethernet, and PCI Express interconnects.

The Arches compact AMC design conforms to the SCOPE Alliance (News - Alert) profile for connectivity, enabling communications via Gigabit Ethernet or Serial Rapid IO switch fabrics with other modules using a carrier board. With Arches performing MAC layer processing, designers can quickly prototype a radio subsystem using a DSP board for the physical layer.

As AMCC’s CTO Dan Bouvier says, “A major development trend today is the so-called green basestation but to capture the interest of mobile network operators, technology providers have to show a reduction in the total cost of ownership for these systems. The Arches reference design kit is a highly efficient platform with abundant processing density.”

Expect to see and hear the word “Green” a great deal in the coming months. IT

Richard “Zippy” Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC (News - Alert)’s IP Communications Group

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