Freescale has launched what it believes is the first multimode wireless basestation processor family that scales from femtocells to macrocells. Called Qonverge, the devices blend dsp technology developed by the StarCore programme with Power Architecture processors.
Scott Aylor, general manager of Freescale's dsp product line, said the move had been made in response to the challenges being faced by carriers. "There has been an explosion of data, causing a change in the way things are done on the network. Carriers are looking for increased performance, along with energy efficiency and cost reduction. This means there is a lot of opportunity for innovation." The first products in the Qonverge range are the 45nm PSC9130 and PSC9131, targeted at femtocells, and the PSC9132, designed for use in picocells and enterprise femtocells. Products targeting metro and macrocell basestations will be announced later in 2011 and will be manufactured on a 28nm process. Aylor claimed: "Our solution supports simultaneous multimode; competing solutions use a number of chipsets. It is one device running one software stack which can support LTE and CDMA at the same time." The PSC9130 and 9131, which feature one e500 Power Architecture core and one SC3850 dsp core, can support 8 or 16 users. The PSC9312 features dual e500 and SC3850 cores and supports up to 64 users. Aylor said: "This product range is based on the premise of multistandard, multimode support and we have done this by taking the best ingredients at Freescale and developing SoCs. Simultaneous multimode support is important, particularly in femtocells, where it is unlikely that all users will have the same handsets." Claiming Qonverge products will deliver a fourfold increase in power/ performance, along with a threefold cost reduction, Aylor said the common architecture would allow developers to enter the road map at a particular point and go either way. "Larger solutions will have the same architecture, but will scale to thousands of users using a single piece of silicon." Pico and femtocell devices will enter volume production in Q3 2011, while those designed for larger applications will not appear until the first half of 2012.