The explosion of smart connected devices and increasing volumes of rich digital content have created a worldwide flood of mobile data, requiring OEMs and carriers to dramatically boost network performance while controlling capital expenditure costs, increasing power efficiency and supporting 4G/LTE standards. While macrocells remain essential to the world’s wireless infrastructure systems, operators are increasingly looking to metrocells to provide ubiquitous coverage in dense urban areas and throughout large enterprises.
To help address these challenges, Freescale Semiconductor introduces the next generation of its groundbreaking QorIQ Qonverge portfolio of base station-on-chip SoCs. Designed to help operators add capacity and deliver enhanced coverage in user-dense environments, the new B3421 base station SoC integrates digital front-end (DFE) technology, which improves power amplifier (PA) efficiency and significantly reduces base station power and costs.
“Freescale pioneered the base station-on-chip market three years ago when we introduced the industry's first multimode wireless base station processor family to scale from small to large cells,” said Tareq Bustami, vice president of product management for Freescale’s Digital Networking business. “The new QorIQ Qonverge B3421 device targets the rapidly growing metro segment and reinforces our commitment to wireless networking leadership, as we continue to invest to stay ahead of market requirements.” According to ABI Research, outdoor small cells will have a year-on-year unit growth of 125 percent predicted for 2014 for a value of almost $3.6 billion.
A highly integrated metrocell base station processor
The device’s embedded CPU cores, DSP cores, baseband accelerators and DFE technology deliver a system-on-chip solution that handles base station processing tasks from the front end all the way to the backhaul. The integrated DFE capability, coupled with industry-standard antenna interfaces, allow seamless RFIC interfacing and streamlined RF line-up optimization. Together with Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities to meet low power requirements, support for JESD204B, JESD207 and CPRI interfaces to support various antenna schemes, PCI Express for connectivity to WiFi chipsets, SATA for local content caching and Ethernet SGMII backhaul interfaces, the QorIQ Qonverge B3421 device is the most highly integrated metrocell base station SoC in the industry.
The B3421 device is fully optimised for concurrent LTE and WiFi operation, and supports LTE-TDD, LTE-FDD and LTE-Advanced wireless standards. Advanced 4x4 MiMO algorithms and 3GPP standard up to Release 11, advanced interference cancelling schemes, eICIC and carrier aggregation additionally improve spectral efficiency and provide future-proofing for OEMs and operators.
“As service providers move to a more heterogeneous network, they are increasingly looking to metrocells to boost coverage and enhance quality of service in densely populated areas. This new interest in metrocells is leading to a spike in OEM development activity,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst for The Linley Group. "With a rich set of integrated features including the newly added DFE function, Freescale's new B3421 SoC delivers high performance at low power, addressing the needs of the metrocell market."
Operating in the in PoE-type power envelope, the B3421 SoC leverages field-proven, industry-leading acceleration technologies combined with Power Architecture® e6500 dual-thread cores and StarCore SC3900 DSP cores, which are both the industry’s highest performing cores in their respective categories. The result is exceptional raw performance that enables up to 256 simultaneous users, and outstanding spectral efficiency for extremely dense user bases like enterprise or urban environments.
Enablement tools and software
Freescale offers a rich ecosystem of products and services to support the QorIQ Qonverge B3 family, including commercial-grade VortiQa Layer 1 baseband software, and field-proven Layer 1/PHY to speed time to market and deliver optimized performance.