Broadcom has included support for 2x20MHz Carrier Aggregation within a new series of small cell chipsets that it says can offer double the capacity of previous generations of product.
The BCM61735, BCM61755 and BCM61765 SoC (System on Chip) devices form Broadcom’s third generation of small cell platforms, with all of the series offering triple mode (3G, LTE, WiFi) support via Broadcom’s new generation BCM61297 RF transceiver. LTE is supported in both TDD and FDD modes, and there is a dedicated processor core for WLAN as well as support for dual-band concurrent 802.11n and 801.11ac Wi-Fi.
The 61735 is a lower cost, low user number, option aimed at residential small cell applications. The 61755 is a mid-range enterprise platform while the 61765 design is targeted at large “venue” size products.
It is this highest spec design (61765) that offers capacities of “up to” 300Mbps – meaning that it can provide support at a small cell level for 20MHz + 20MHz Carrier Aggregation.
The multicore platforms also include integrated SON support with features such as network listening or GSM/UMTS/LTE sniffing. The chipsets also include Envelope Tracking technology in order to be more power efficient.
The small cell chip market has seen fluctuation as early dedicated players that made the market, such as PicoChip (which exited into Mindspeed and then Intel), have seen tougher competition from the likes of Qualcomm and Broadcom. Qualcomm and Broadcom number between them a clutch of major design contracts with OEMs (eg Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco) and with the small cell platform providers (eg Aricent, Node-H, Radisys) who integrate the chip designs with their own software and then provide that platform to be used by manufacturers.
Broadcom’s latest generation product comes after launches from Qualcomm of its FSM99xx family in June 2013, a 28bnm product with Dual Carrier LTE support, and its cost-optimised version, the FSM90xx, released in June 2014.