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Broadcom Expanding Small Cell Portfolio

The company is sampling its third-generation low-power small cell SoCs, which officials say will improve users' wireless experiences.

Expanding small cell portfolio

Broadcom is targeting both enterprises and homes with enhanced baseband processors that can be used in small cells in 3G, 4G LTE and WiFi networks.

The company is sampling three systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) in its BCM617x5 portfolio—the third generation of its low-power small cell baseband chips—that officials said will have over twice the capacity and faster data speeds than current offerings. They deliver data rates of up to 300 megabits-per-second, according to Broadcom.

Small cells powered by the new chips will give carriers greater options for managing their spectrum usage and offloading traffic from their increasingly congested broadband and WiFi networks while giving users greater wireless coverage indoors.

"Our new generation of residential and triple-mode enterprise baseband processors for small cells provides global carriers with a powerful solution as 3G technology matures and global operators prepare to transition to 4G LTE mobile networks," Greg Fischer, vice president and general manager for broadband carrier access, said in a statement.

Small cells are access points that can improve network coverage and capacity, reduce the cost of service delivery, help open new revenue opportunities and improve the user experience with faster mobile broadband services and better quality voice connections. Device and component makers like Cisco Systems, Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm are building out their small cell product portfolios. Dell'Oro analysts in January said they expect spending on small cell equipment to grow over the next five years.

"While there is no secret at this point that service providers would prefer to roll out macros as long as possible, we firmly believe as the focus continues to shift from outdoor coverage to improving performance in high-traffic areas and indoors, that the case for small cells will eventually not only make sense from a spatial efficiency perspective, but it will also be compelling from a business point of view," Stefan Pongratz, director of Dell’Oro's RAN and small cell programs, said in a statement.

Broadcom's new SoCs include 3G and 4G/LTE small cell transceivers, support for multiple networks and configurations, including LTE, carrier wireless LANs with a dedicated WLAN processor core, and China's ZUC security algorithm. They also support Broadcom's RF cellular devices and dual-band concurrent 802.11n and 802.11ac WiFi technologies.