A press release can never cover everything, so it’s no surprise that we’ve had a lot of questions about our ground-breaking small cell announcement with Texas Instruments. So here’s a round-up Q&A…
What’s new here? Aren’t there already small cells available?
You can get a femtocell-based small cell with capacity suitable for consumers and businesses. Or you can manually plan a few pico or micro cells into the macro network. Neither can provide the combination of high capacity, dense deployment and low operational costs.
Our small cells combine the best of femtocell and macro worlds to create a new breed of small cell. These small cells combine Texas Instruments carrier-grade processor infrastructure with the software intelligence and backhaul flexibility of Ubiquisys femtocells. The combination provides blistering performance with low operational costs and the capability for dense deployment.
Which other chipset vendors did you consider before choosing to partner with TI?
We went through an extensive selection process over an eight month period. Vendors included Freescale, Qualcomm etc. – all the major vendors. We were looking for a roadmap partner, not a just a silicon vendor. In the end we chose TI because of their performance, the completeness and quality of their product, the calibre and experience of their team (especially from a macro perspective) and the mutual compatibility of our shared vision.
Why did you choose a “macro” chipset rather than a specialist femto/small cell SoC?
We didn’t. TI is providing a full system-on-chips (SoC) solution with optimised silicon and PHY software, all based on its Keystone multicore infrastructure. It combines specialist small cell capabilities with massive processing power, and harnesses TI’s unrivalled expertise in powering macro networks.
Does this mean you will be designing full-size basestations next?
The only real difference is between these small cells and a macro basestation is that the small cell is active, making autonomous real-time decisions, whilst the basestation is passive. So in theory there is no reason why our small cells should not be scaled-up, but the reality is that we designed small cells because that is today’s pressing market need. Operators need small cells to multiply mobile data capacity, serving it closer to users for a better experience, all at a lower cost per GB.
How does the TI announcement affect your relationship with Broadcom?
Broadcom continues to be our preferred baseband supplier for residential and enterprise femtocells. They offer a class-leading combination of performance, price and energy efficiency. Our announcement with TI represents an expansion of our small cell range into larger public space and outdoor cells, and does not affect our Broadcom relationship.
We hope that’s answered some of your questions. If you have any more, please feel free to leave a comment below.