comment on this article

Femtocell chip set to change mobile network

Picochip has announced the first of its next generation picoXcell femtocell chips. Rupert Baines, vp of marketing, noted: "The PC3008 is a third generation product intended for high volume mass market products and could be used to enable a basestation on a usb stick."

According to the company, the PC3008, the 40nm device, which features Picochip's PHY and an ARM11 processor running at 950MHz, integrates the key components of a 3G femtocell into a 12mm square aQFN package. "We want to make femtocells cheap and easy," said Baines. "Some operators like that because the chip doesn't need flash memory or a power supply."

In Baines' view, the wireless industry is changing in much the same way as the computer industry changed in the late 1970s. "We're seeing basestations moving to be based on COTS technology. As part of this move, femtocells will replace the whole of the network because they are made from standard silicon and made in their millions."

Baines believes operators will either create usb based devices for use with domestic routers, which typically have four usb ports, or will integrate the functionality into similar products. "In this way, up to eight users can get 3G coverage at home without any configuration," he said. Another potential application is to create a '3G bubble' in rural areas.

Picochip claims the network of mobile phone basestations could, in theory, be swept away; replaced by femtocells in a range of guises. "Too many people need capacity," said Baines, "and that has until now been solved by adding basestations. But femtocells can be put where basestations aren't feasible and they change the economics; instead of $200k, it's $2k."

Graham Pitcher

Comment on this article

This material is protected by Findlay Media copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

Enjoy this story? People who read this article also read...

What you think about this article:

Add your comments


Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Using a new knob

The move to push semiconductor manufacturing processes to ever smaller ...

Between the layers

ZofzPCB is a free 3D Gerber viewer that allows designers to see inside the ...

What’s in a name?

A month after rumours started to appear, ON Semiconductor has confirmed that it ...

Making it happen

Speaking at last week’s second annual ARM Forum at London’s Science Museum, the ...

Interesting times

It has certainly been an interesting year for chip giant Qualcomm. Revenues are ...