Scalable DSP platform for small to macro-cell LTE base stations
To deliver on the performance expectations for 4G LTE networks, operators will need to deploy a mix of low-cost pico and femto cells, along with lower power macro cell base stations, to meet green energy requirements. Texas Instruments has stepped up to the plate and delivered with its TCI6636 LTE/LTE-Advanced base station on a chip. The 28 nm SoC is the first to employ TI’s KeyStone II architecture, and the first chip of any kind to pack four of ARM’s most advanced Cortex-A15 cores on a single piece of silicon. TI architected the TCI6636 for applications in the high-end of the small cell market segment, supporting up to 256 users. Designers can also connect three TCI6636 SoCs to build a macro-cell base station, lowering cost and power compared to alternative architectures, by eliminating additional components such as network processors and antenna FPGAs.
The TCI6636 has eight of TI’s C66x DSP cores, each with a dedicated 1 MB memory subsystem for 320 GMACS, and 160 GFLOPS performance. General-purpose processing is performed by the quad ARM Cortex-A15s, cumulatively providing 17.5 Dhrystone MIPS. TI adds accelerators to the base KeyStone architecture for Cat-7 LTE support (300 Mbps downlink, 150 Mbps uplink).