2G femtocells needed for emerging markets, claims chipset designer

Claiming that many of the latest base stations do not offer support for 2G has prompted a UK-based company to develop a chipset for use within femtocells and base stations that supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE/E-EDGE. The company, Cambridge Consultants Limited (CCL), claims its Centaur reference design aims to offer developers of base stations and femtocells a low-cost route to incorporate 2G and 2.75G capability that will appeal to developing markets such as Africa and India.

Centaur, based on a chipset from picoChip, is said to be a reference design that addresses the cost issue by including a complete framework model and code implemented on the pico­Array from picoChip. Nigel Toon, president and CEO at picoChip, said that the technology could be used for GSM-only femtocells, "for example for low-power GSM licensees. It can also be used for dual-mode W-CDMA/GSM femtocells, or even as a low-cost macrocell for economical wide area coverage in rural areas or developing countries."

Tim Fowler, commercial director at CCL, said GSM would still be in operation for many years, if not decades, delivering the services required by billions of subscribers. "It is critical that the deployment of mobile infrastructure includes GSM capability. One of the challenges for the developing world in particular is the cost of infrastructure."

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Electronics Weekly

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