Small cell base station processors add complete TD-LTE support

April 09, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Cavium has announced a software stack update that adds support for TD-LTE on its OCTEON Fusion family of SoCs (System-on-Chip). The company’s TD-LTE software stack option allows small cell manufacturers to deliver both FDD and TDD-enabled products using the same OCTEON Fusion processors.

Operators in China and India, with more than two billion combined potential mobile data consumers, use TDD spectrum extensively and are preparing to introduce large scale TD-LTE deployments over the next one to two years. Operators in other global markets, where TDD makes up a significant percentage of their LTE spectrum, also have announced plans to add TD-LTE services.

Cavium offers feature-rich small cell solutions which include manufacturable hardware designs and fully integrated PHY, L2/L3 stack and management software, enabling manufacturers to quickly bring commercial base station products to market. The OCTEON Fusion TD-LTE stack enhancement initially targets 3GPP Release 9, supports up to 128 simultaneous users and 20 MHz channel bandwidth. This functionality aligns with the requirements specified for the dense urban deployment market segment.

Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Maravedis-Rethink commented: “Two important trends in wireless infrastructure have now become main stream: the adoption of small cells as a fundamental part of the radio access network (RAN), and the realization that TDD is a critical part of carrier deployments. This announcement helps fill an important need. The availability of SoCs and reference designs are an important sign that the TD-LTE ecosystem is catching up with its FDD sibling. This is significant to all carriers who are looking to make the best use of their expensive spectrum. This includes operators with TDD only, such as China Mobile; those with both TDD and FDD, such as Vodafone and BT; and those with legacy WiMAX spectrum such as Clearwire –— now Softbank.”

Spectrum regulators around the world have assigned capacity to TD-LTE, including 50 MHz in recent European auctions. In many cases this is re-farming the spectrum that was to be used by WiMAX. Because spectrum is expensive and crowded, this “vacant prime real estate” is a major asset for carriers. TD-LTE has largely been supported by traditional macro cell products until now. The contemporary architecture of small cells, delivering better network