PMC-Sierra is making its initial foray into the macro base station market with Unitrx, a three-device chipset that can replace 14 traditional base station components.
One trend in macro base stations is the migration to high-order MIMO or active antenna design, Robert Chow, director of product marketing in PMC's broadband wireless division, told FierceBroadbandWireless. "With that, especially when you're deploying these on the same tower top where you've traditionally deployed remote radio heads, you're seeing the need to put more electronics into the same space and power form factor," he said.
Addressing that issue, PMC designed its Unitrx chipset to reduce both board space and power by more than 50 percent from equivalent multi-standard base station radio designs.
OEMs can repurpose this three-chip design for many applications because the chipset provides integrated processors to configure and monitor the transmit and receive radio chains by software, said the company.
The Unitrx chipset includes three integrated monolithic CMOS devices: Unitx, a dual-transmitter RFIC for multi-standard, wideband radio designs; Unirx, a dual-receiver RFIC for multi-standard, wideband radio designs; and Syntheclk, a low-phase-noise clock synthesizer with an integrated jitter attenuator.
In the Unitx, PMC has included a microcontroller in the subsystem, which lets a user work through a simple API to control, configure and calibrate the subsystem. "In the past, because this subsystem was filled with discretes, the OEM would have had to have a separate controller and calibrate and control each of the subcomponents individually," Chow said.
PMC's Unitrx chipset is designed to support wideband modules operating in the 400 MHz to 4 GHz frequency range in order to help OEMs reduce product variants and can support multi-carrier GSM, CDMA2000, WCDMA and LTE.
The Unirx test chip and Unitx Rev A sampled in the fourth quarter of 2011 to leading OEMs, which evaluated and provided feedback on required improvements and architectural fit. The Unitx Rev B and Unirx Rev A devices will sample to target OEMs in the fourth quarter of this year to start evaluation and development, said PMC.
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