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Picochip extends leadership in small cells with next generation silicon


Picochip, the leader in small cell technology, has launched its next generation of public access and enterprise silicon. The new devices are the PC3024 for enterprise use and the PC3032 for metro and rural small cells. These are the latest members of Picochip’s market leading family of small cell System-on-Chip (SoC) products, and build  on the success of the PC323 and PC33 – the latter being the first SoC on the market for the new breed of ‘small cell’ and ‘metro cell’ basestations.


The new devices are the first ‘small cell’ optimized system-on-chip (SoC) silicon products in 40nm process node; a move made possible thanks to Picochip’s close working relationship with TSMC. Both the PC3024 and PC3032 offer improved performance from a 1GHz ARM11 processor and by continuing to use Picochip’s field-proven PHY and software, customers can easily migrate to the new devices with minimal cost or risk. The PC3024 and PC3032 also offer the industry’s best security, significantly exceeding 3GPP TR 33.820 with ARM TrustZone® (TPM capable), 4096 bits of security keys, secure boot and are the first femtocells to support SNOW3G, the new, enhanced cryptography standard in 3GPP.

“Picochip was the first company to release small cell silicon designed expressly for metropolitan and enterprise usage and the next generation builds on the success of the last” said Caroline Gabriel, Research Director Rethink Technology Research. “More and more network operators are realising that small cells will have to be an essential part of their networks in the future, and these new products from Picochip will make that shift possible.”

“Picochip pioneered the small cell market, and there are more 3G basestations using our baseband than any other supplier. We were the first company to develop silicon for femtocells, the first to develop SoCs for enterprise and metropolitan use and we’re continuing to extend this leadership with the PC3024 and PC3032,” said Nigel Toon, CEO, Picochip. “We’re now in a position where nearly all of the world’s mobile operators have realised that small cells are essential to the success of their network, offloading traffic and delivering coverage exactly where it’s needed. No other semiconductor company can offer the performance, cost-optimization or the technology leadership of Picochip and we’ve taken another yet step ahead with these new products.”

The PC333 is the highest-performing femtocell SoC on the market, and is already re-defining the fundamental architecture of mobile networks, being deployed by carriers in both metro, for data capacity, and rural applications, to solve ‘not spots’. The PC333 and now PC3032 both support 32-users with HSPA+ and are the only small cell SoCs to meet the 3GPP Local Area Basestation (LABS) performance standard. The PC3032 adds support for Release 9, Dual-carrier and MIMO offers potential speeds of 42Mbps downlink as well the faster host processor and enhanced security.

The PC3024 is a low-cost, 24-user device designed for use in enterprise applications. With mobile operators worldwide already rolling out enterprise small cells, the PC3024 offers the lowest bill of materials (BoM) on the market and is part of a portfolio starting with the PC3008 making it an ideal solution for OEMs looking to build the next generation of enterprise small cells.

Both chips are based on the field-proven PHY and system architecture of Picochip’s picoXcell™ family, ensuring the robustness, interoperability and maturity that comes from the industry’s most widely deployed PHY architecture. The Picochip portfolio extends from cost-effective PC3008 for residential, up to the PC3032, with other devices in development, allowing OEMs to develop a family of products for different price/performance points, with the economy of one common architecture and set of interfaces.

As well as faster host (1GHz compared to 700MHz) and new security modes the new devices also have lower power and lower bill-of-materials than their predecessors thanks to the 40nm process and increased integration. The PC3024 and PC3032 will sample 1Q2012 with the next products on the roadmap due to launch soon.


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