picoChip, KT to develop WiBro/WiMAX femtocell

Important news on the WiMAX front, and as is often the case, U.K.-based picoChip is involved. The company has just signed a partnership agreement with Korea Telecom (KT) to develop WiBro/WiMAX APs (also called femtocells or home-basestations). Each of the two companies brings a lot to the table: KT has launched commercial WiBro service, while picoChip's multi-core DSP is the industry standard architecture for WiMAX infrastructure; the DSP is also widely used for WCDMA femtocells.

Femtocells enable cost-effective deployment and allow carriers to compete with UMA or VoWiFi. 3G providers, already anxious about the inroads made by WiMAX and WiFI into what they had thought was their exclusive domain, are showing growing interest in femtocells, but KT is the first company to develop such a program for WiMAX. The picoChip/KT partnership developments will focus on the recently introduced PC20x family of processors from picoChip. This signal processor enables a single chip WiMAX BS PHY with integrated ARM for upper layer protocols. We may be jumping the gun here, but, in principle, the picoChip-KT cooperative effort has opened up the possibility of WiMAX APs supplanting WiFi for wireless communications in the home and office.

For more on picoChip-KT collaboration:
- see this press release

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