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Mobile WiMAX SoC responds to base stations' needs

Posted: 06 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WiMAX SoC? base station? 4G?

Meeting the narrow cost constraints of a femto environment, while scaling one solution to pico and micro base stations, was a challenge eluding system manufacturers and service providers. Fujitsu's mobile WiMAX base station SoC targets all three base station platforms with a single SoC. This enables system makers to leverage a single core solution across several small base station platforms.

"For the femto base station, we are targeting prices for the end user under $100," said Dean Chang, senior product marketing manager, Fujitsu. "It's scalable to pico and micro stations as well. The advantage for system manufacturers is that they can leverage this single platform as a sole core across multiple base station platforms," he added.

SoC targets widespread wireless churn based on poor coverage in homes and buildings. Around 70 percent of traffic is indoors, at 2.5GHz, a significant attenuation loss occurs through exterior walls. The frequencies for WiMAX and other 4G technologies are much higher, causing more loss. Capacity is also growing. Internet traffic doubles every 12 to 15 months on mobile devices and IPTV and media downloads use substantial bandwidth. High speed demand increases. The challenge is that at the micro base station, as signals go through an exterior wall, they operate at a lower modulation rate, which effectively means lower bandwidth. Small base stations can actually add capacity to take on some of the burden and improve the voice and data results.

Design according to usability
The SoC can be designed into femto base stations for indoor applications; pico stations for indoor or outdoor applications; and micro base stations for outdoor use by service providers or enterprise networks.

The Fujitsu solution takes all PHY and MAC features, analog and digital radio control and analog circuits necessary to conform to Wave 2. A dual-integrated ARM core of up to 360MHz gives the processing power at a femto base station. For larger platforms, an additional processor can be connected by means of a PCI host interface to handle demands for more throughputs and a bigger user base.

The SoC offers a 10/100/1000 Ethernet interface, along with a DDR-II and flash memory interface and a wide range of peripherals such as UART, direct MAC, timer, GPIO, SPI, I2C, low-speed ADC/DACs and a network synchronization interface. The power requirements are around 2W, typically employing a full femto base station to operate on less than 10W.

Fujitsu gives a femto base station reference design kit. Integrated features are Wave 2-compliant Mobile WiMAX PHY and MAC feature set, RF (2x/2x MIMO), Ethernet, GPS and IEEE 1588 for frequency and timing synchronization and location ID. The kit also has an R6 interface to an ASN gateway.

The SoC comes in a 676-pin BGA package. The reference design carries all required software and hardware for ODMs or contract manufacturers to build a cost-effective system solution.

- Carolyn Mathas
EE Times

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