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February 27, 2014

PureWave and Texas Instruments to Work Together to Develop Hercules Platform for Small Cell Base Stations

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Texas Instruments (TI) and PureWave announced that they would be working together to develop small cell 4G base stations for the OEM market through a platform known as Hercules. One of the key philosophies behind the design of these devices is reduced time to market. They can function as a turnkey solution, but are also fully programmable.

Santa Clara, CA-based PureWave develops small cell products. Its Leo 500 base stations are designed with urban markets in mind. They can be installed on walls, poles or street lights, support 256 active users and can produce signals that can get inside buildings and still function in crowded environments.

TI supplies the chips for the Hercules platform. The TCI6631K2L is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) that supports non-line-of-sight backhaul. The AFE7500 transceiver provides 4G communications. PureWave uses these chips in its Constellation Hercules base stations. OEMs can provide solutions through software development and hardware configurations. PureWave also offers its own set of customization services.

Companies like PureWave and TI fill an important need in providing backhaul infrastructure when demand for mobile services is in danger of exceeding supply within the next five years. According to a report by Cisco, global mobile data traffic is expected to grow from 1.5 exabytes per month to 15.9 exabytes in 2018, an 11-fold increase and CAGR of 61 percent.

The same report goes on to conclude that, “Backhaul capacity must increase so mobile broadband, data access, and video services can effectively support consumer usage trends and keep mobile infrastructure costs in check.”

A significant portion of mobile broadband growth will come from the high speed 4G market. Deloitte predicts global 4G revenues to increase to a total of $100 billion in 2014. The user base will increase to 200 million, three times what it was in 2012.

This poses a serious problem for service providers and infrastructure vendors that make antennas, base stations and other related equipment. Not only does the consumer market want to watch video on phones and tablets, but the business market also demands more video for videoconferencing and richer presentations.

Meeting the demand is going to come more from better technology, not greater quantities of existing technology, although the quantities of equipment won’t be small. You can only build so many cell towers and only put so many antennas on them. The antennas, base stations and other equipment will have to be able to handle more capacity than the previous generation. Demand is going to increase more than an order of magnitude; there isn’t enough time to install ten times more equipment than is up now. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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