New multicore “app of the month” -- The new small cells here, the new small cells here!

Yes, it’s time for a new multicore “app of the month” and you guessed right – it’s small cells! 

While we certainly believe in the future of wireless small cell base stations, as I discussed in one of my previous posts from last year, there are still some challenges to be solved before small cells become widespread in the market.  To this end, our wireless infrastructure developers have been working on SoC and software solutions while supporting our customers as they implement a variety of small cell base stations. 

Well, the time has come, and the “new” small cells are here!  One of my colleagues snapped this picture recently in Mountain View, CA.  It includes a small cell unit on top of a lamp post, along with the backhaul box, and oh so conveniently, the macro base station tower in the background!  While this might not be very meaningful to most people, our group was about as excited as Steve Martin’s ‘The Jerk’ character Navin Johnson when he discovered that “the new phone book’s here!”  As fellow technologists, you might imagine how enthused we were to see evidence of our end equipment technology alive and in the mainstream. 


While there are still some technical challenges for small cells working as an integral part of the heterogeneous wireless networks, the trials and small deployments have begun. To Navin, the new phone book meant that he was somebody; to us, seeing small cells out and about, on lamp posts, building tops, utility poles, means  that the horsepower of a macro cell can be packaged in a smaller, lower power form factor.  To wireless users, the presence of small cells means the start of network support for the growing demand of data driven bandwidth!

I invite you to read our new TI white paper, Embracing LTE-A with KeyStone SoCs, and learn more about the upcoming features of the 3GPP standard as LTE evolves to LTE-Advanced to support higher capacity 4G networks and how they are implemented in TI’s KeyStone multicore SoCs.  And, if you happen to be in China next week you can catch a live presentation by my colleague, Zhihong Lin, who will be discussing smarter small cells at the China Small Cell Symposium 2012 in Beijing.

Are you seeing any evidence of small cells in your neighborhood?  I would love to hear about it!