picoChip extends femtocell leadership with complete femtocell solutions, integrating PHY, stack and femtocell system software

November 20, 2009 – picoChip, the industry leader in femtocell silicon, today announced its strategy for an end-to-end femtocell reference solution that will lower barriers to entry, minimize cost and

November 20, 2009 – picoChip, the industry leader in femtocell silicon, today announced its strategy for an end-to-end femtocell reference solution that will lower barriers to entry, minimize cost and accelerate time-to-market for femtocells. Extending its strong partnership with Continuous Computing, the picoChip solution integrates optimized versions of their Trillium protocol stacks with picoChip’s field-proven system-on-chip products plus sophisticated femtocell management software. The architecture extends from HSPA through to LTE.

picoChip’s picoXcell™ femtocell silicon is already the industry standard supporting all the major HSPA carrier deployments. Seventeen customers are using the field-proven picoXcell PHY, most of whom are working with Continuous Computing’s established Trillium protocol stack. While some companies have chosen to develop the femtocell software code themselves, many others are looking to purchase a complete solution. picoChip will enable a single pre-integrated and optimized system that includes all the software modules for the complex control functionality required by femtocells. This reference solution will address all of the key ‘pain points’ experienced by manufacturers when developing femtocells, such as interference management, security, timing and provisioning. As such, the complete femtocell offering will go significantly beyond femtocell silicon to deliver a complete solution to address designers’ challenges at a systems level.

“As our volumes increase, from thousands of units last year to millions next year, the industry value chain shifts,” commented Nigel Toon, picoChip CEO. “As part of this market expansion, customers’ requirements evolve. Many of our existing customers have their own software and deliver significant technology differentiation and we will continue to provide leading support to these customers. But we also have other customers that are looking for a more complete reference design – which is what we will now offer. With the recent carrier launches, and with our strong customer base we are clearly the world’s leading supplier of femtocell technology: this strategy is set to dramatically extend that leadership.”

“The femtocell market is starting to mature,” said Caroline Gabriel of Rethink Research. “While the sophisticated early entrants wrote their own solutions, this is bringing an inevitable demand from developers for more complete system solutions that reduce risk, enable differentiation and speed time-to-market. This is a value chain dynamic that other semiconductor markets such as Wi-Fi and DSL also experienced as they hit the mass-market. picoChip’s move is a logical one; by doing this now they stake a claim to what promises to be a lucrative market in the near future. Significantly, this announcement addresses LTE too, so picoChip is not just seeking to lock-in its position in HSPA, but to establish a lead in the Home eNode B space as that develops.”

“This announcement underlines the company’s direction, as the femtocell market evolves to require optimized solutions rather than just modems,” added Nigel Toon. “We plan to build on our industry leading femtocell silicon solutions to provide the industry standard femtocell platform solution.”

Amongst other features, picoChip’s complete solution will offer automated interference management and network self organization. By building on its well-established network monitor products, picoChip will make it easier for customers to create self organizing network (SON) capabilities within their femtocells. picoChip has significant intellectual property in this area: the company was the lead author of the interference management studies within FemtoForum and has been an active contributor to 3GPP. The company’s network monitor (“sniffer”) functionality, supporting both GSM and WCDMA plus fast sniff modes, is already widely used.

Another vital component is the integrated software stack, licensed from Continuous Computing, which picoChip has tested, pre-integrated and proven. This bundling will eliminate the need for femtocell makers to buy-in separate software or invent it in-house – increasing flexibility and dramatically reduce time to market. The two companies have been co-operating for some time, with a large number of mutual customers now shipping product, but this development significantly extends the relationship.

Although femtocells are self-configuring, they are still part of the network and operators need to provision them, to control system parameters, and to implement remote diagnostics and troubleshooting. picoChip will integrate TR-069 and TR-196 compliant operations and maintenance (O&M) modules to allow these operations.

Operators need to be absolutely certain that femtocells do not leave them open to malware and malicious attacks. Moreover, it is essential that consumers can trust that their conversations and data communications are private at all times. This is a critical functionality and by combining control of the silicon with control of the applications picoChip can maximize the inherent capabilities of its silicon to enhance operator and user security. The new offering will conform to the TR33.820 and emerging TS33.320 standards for femto security.

Finally, Femtocell systems demand precise timing and synchronization to manage hand-over with the macro network and to conform to 3GPP requirements for interference management. Such solutions have traditionally been complex and costly: by combining its system understanding with silicon design of the picoXcell SoC, picoChip is working with partners to integrate a solution that meets the demanding specifications while significantly reducing cost.

For more information on this announcement: http://www.picochip.com/newsroom.php

For more information on picoChip’s products: http://www.picochip.com/page/11/femtocell

For more information on femtocells: http://www.femtoforum.org/femto/
For further information, please contact:

Andy Gothard – Director of Corporate Marketing Riverside Buildings, 108 Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5BG, UK
Tel: +44 1225 469 744
E-mail: andyg@picochip.com
Fax: +44 1225 469 767
Web: www.picochip.com

PR team contact:
Katie Robertson – EML
Tel: +44 20 8408 8000
E-mail: picochip@eml.com

About picoChip
picoChip is enabling the next generation of wireless infrastructure. Its picoXcellâ„¢ family of optimized silicon devices is the leader in the fast growing market for femtocell access points. Its picoArrayâ„¢ family of flexible wireless processors is the leading solution for OFDMA-based network equipment, and is backed by comprehensive software support for global standards such as EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, WiMAX, LTE, cdma2000 and GSM. Located in Bath, UK and Beijing, China, picoChip is re-shaping mobile networks.
For more information, visit www.picochip.com 

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