Roke Launches Wide-Area Femtocell

July 13, 2010

The company’s reference design has a 40 km range, supports 120 kmph speeds, and can be used to cost-effectively serve sparsely populated rural areas or quickly deploy cellular coverage during natural disasters.

ROMSEY, England /PRNewswire/ -- Roke Manor Research Ltd. has developed the "world's first 3G wide-area coverage femtocell capability." Using picoChip's technology as the development platform, Roke's reference design has a 40 km range, which delivers more than 40,000 times the area covered by most other femtocells. It is also the first to support full mobility at speeds of up to 120 kmph, allowing mobile users to travel while connected to 3G base stations.

This solution could be used to cost-effectively serve sparsely-populated rural areas that are conventionally thought of as uneconomic, or to quickly deploy cellular coverage, for example as instant infrastructure to help emergency services after a natural disaster.

The new wide-area Femtocell requires minimum infrastructure, and its small form factor significantly reduces power consumption, making it a cost-effective option for network operators. It supports up to twelve simultaneous users, with Release 5 HSDPA, and a software upgrade to Release 6 HSUPA. Roke has also developed custom firmware enhancements to picoChip's industry-standard PC8208 femtocell solution.

Prasid Shah, Business Sector Manager at Roke, said: "Previously the best range femtocell technology could deliver was 2 km, useful for wireless services on a campus, but uneconomic for network operators that would have to deploy large numbers in order to fill signal black holes in the countryside. Roke's concept means that a reliable 3G mobile service in some of the most remote areas in the world is now a cost-effective reality for network operators."

Rupert Baines, VP Marketing, at picoChip, said: "There is a growing awareness of how femtocells can be used in a variety of ways, to cost-effectively address a range of different problems. Roke's development of a low-cost long-range femtocell opens up many applications and deployment opportunities. picoChip's focus is to provide technology that enables new types of cellular communications services cost-effectively. Building on our proven femtocell technology, Roke has achieved this and now offers network operators a genuine alternative to traditional base station deployment."

About Roke Manor Research Ltd.
Roke Manor Research Ltd. is an independent electronics research and development centre based in Romsey, Hampshire. Founded in 1956 and wholly owned by Siemens since 1991, Roke is one of the UK's leading suppliers of innovative solutions and contract R&D. Roke employs 450 staff and has over 430 patents to its name. Roke pioneers developments in electronic sensors, networks, and communications technology.

Roke has over 50 years of communications experience, providing customers with technology consultancy through to product development. Roke's communications expertise is focused on wireless technologies, and it has actively participated in the standardization of LTE. For many years, it has also undertaken radio access network specification, architecture, design, and implementation, as well as implementing and customizing wireless physical and link layers for both the commercial mobile communications and defense markets.

About picoChip
picoChip is enabling the next generation of wireless infrastructure. The picoXcell family of optimized silicon devices is a leader in the fast-growing market for femtocell access points. Its picoArray family of flexible wireless processors is the leading solution for OFDMA-based network equipment, and is backed by comprehensive software support for global standards, such as EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, WiMAX, LTE, cdma2000, and GSM. Located in Bath, UK, and Beijing, China, picoChip is re-shaping mobile networks.

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