Small cell manufacturer ip.access confirmed plans last week (16 February 2012) to build its first integrated LTE and 3G small cell. The new unit, codenamed the E-100, will be the first from ip.access to be based on the QorIQ Qonverge platform from US chip maker Freescale.
The E-100 is a small cell access point (AP) targeted for use in enterprises and public indoor environments. The device will provide simultaneous 4G and 3G mobile phone signals with data speeds of up to 150 Mbps and 42 Mbps respectively. The product will be ready for entry into customer labs later this year, with field trials expected in Q1 2013.
Using the E-100, mobile network operators will be able to improve mobile phone service quality and data speeds inside office buildings, shopping malls, hotels and other public indoor areas, while at the same time relieving congestion on the outdoor network.
Announcing the E-100, ip.access founder and CTO Nick Johnson said: ‘Small cells will have a vital role to play in delivering LTE's promise of high-speed data for large numbers of subscribers. The E-100 allows operators to rapidly add coverage and capacity to their LTE networks exactly where it is needed.’
At the same time, the integrated 3G capability improves network performance and relieves congestion for the majority of today's smartphone users. ‘There's an immediate return on investment for operators even before the mass-market take-up of LTE handsets,’ explained Johnson.
The E-100 will be integrated into ip.access' nanoConverge end-to-end small cell solution architecture, allowing operators to deploy the E-100 alongside the company's existing 3G and 2G small cells using the same gateways and network management system.
‘nanoConverge is designed to ease the upgrade path for operators – whether that is adding 3G picocells and femtocells to an existing 2G installation, or ramping up LTE capability on an existing 3G small cell network,’ added Johnson.
The E-100 unit will be the first small cell from ip.access to use Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge platform. ‘After an extensive RFQ process, we selected QorIQ Qonverge because of its advanced performance and ability to scale for different applications,’ explained Johnson.
Scott Aylor, general manager of Freescale’s Wireless Access Division, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with a company that is well recognised for its track record of innovation and success in the small cell marketplace. We see this as a powerful endorsement of our market-leading LTE technology.’
ip.access, which is based in Carmbridge, UK and manufactures a range of 'small cell' picocell and femtocell solutions for 3G, EDGE GSM and LTE deployments, will mount a capability demonstration of the E-100 at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.