'Superfemto' chip aims at 2km range

Stepping outside of the volume femtocell chipset market, the silicon developer, picoChip, has unveiled a new design that it claims will provide HSPA cellular coverage over a 2km area.

The company maintains that its Class 3 PC8219E chip is the first to enable low-cost, wide-area open access femtocell deployments in areas where operators need to improve coverage and capacity. picoChip said the design included a network-monitoring function that would allow a ‘Superfemtocell' to reconfigure itself to behave like a handset receive chain, synchronising with a macro-base station nearby, and provide the basis for Self-Organising Network functions.

Nigel Toon, president and CEO of picoChip, said, "We are already shipping in volume for residential applications, but this announcement demonstrates how femtocell technology is more broadly applicable. Given the prevalence of mobile devices there is huge potential to address the widespread problems of in-building coverage, to fix coverage black spots or add capacity where it is needed."

The new chip, according to picoChip, builds on the existing PC8208 and 8209 PHYs technology to provide a product that would be classified as similar to the 3GPP 'Local Area Basestation' or traditional picocells. However, the PC8219E design is said to add the femtocell's capabilities to use standard backhaul and to self-configure for interference management.

The Femto Forum has recently standardised femtocells into class one--typically residential, class two--primarily indoor for enterprise, and class three--for rural, metro and wider area deployment.

For more on this story:
EE Times

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