Picocom, the 5G Open RAN baseband semiconductor and software specialist, has developed the PC802 SoC (system on chip), a flexible, low power device that empowers the innovation of a new breed of 5G NR open small cell products. The PC802 is the world’s first 4G/5G device dedicated to developing small cells with integrated support for Open RAN (Radio Access Networks) standards. It supports disaggregated 5G small cell platforms, including indoor residential, enterprise and industrial networks, neutral host networks and outdoor networks.
The product took Picocom three years to develop and is a milestone achievement for the company and the whole Picocom Team. They expect to deliver products to their lead customers before the end of the year.
The PC802 is a purpose-designed PHY SoC for 5G NR/LTE small cell disaggregated and integrated RAN architectures, that includes support for 4G. The SoC includes support for industry-leading Open RAN specifications, and interfaces with a layer 2/3 stack via the SCF FAPI interface over PCIe. The PC802 supports seamless interfacing to Radio Units (O-RU) via the O-RAN Open Fronthaul (eCPRI) interface or directly to RFICs with a standardized JESD204B high-speed serial interface.
Caroline Gabriel, Founder and Research Director at Rethink Research said that the big vendors design their own chips optimized for performance, power and cost. A disruptive Open RAN ecosystem needs innovative chips to compete with this, so it’s good to see Picocom coming to market with optimized, flexible silicon.
Oliver Davies, VP Marketing at Picocom said that they believe they have hit the ‘sweet spot’ in addressing the need for optimised silicon to power Open RAN. They are delighted with the pre-launch interest in PC802 and the positive feedback they have received on its specification. For successful deployments, it’s clear that Open RAN needs optimized silicon, and PC802 SoC delivers. They expect to see PC802 in end-products commencing field trials during 2022.
The PC802 SoC is optimized for disaggregated small cells. It employs the FAPI protocol (defined by the Small Cell Forum) to communicate with and provide physical layer services to the MAC. It has an integrated O-RAN Alliance Open Fronthaul interface (based on eCPRI) to connect and communicate with Open RAN (remote) radio units (RUs), as well as JESD204B interfaces to connect glueless with commonly available radio transceivers.
For small cell applications, the PC802 device transforms FAPI messages from the L2/3 into IQ samples for the radio and vice versa. This includes driving the external physical and software interfaces, PHY processing and Digital Front End (DFE) functions.
The PC802 is also optimized to provide upper PHY processing in an O-RAN Alliance O-DU. It achieves this by transforming the FAPI messages from the L2/3 into frequency domain IQ samples using eCPRI and Open fronthaul messages, which can be transmitted over the Ethernet to O-RU remote radio units.
Click here for more information on Picocom’s PC802 5G small cell SoC.