By Ron Wilson, Executive Editor — EDN
The dual pressures of higher data bandwidth and media data types are changing networks from endpoint to core. And wireless networks, forced to shift from their rapid deployment of HSPA to LTE while simultaneously staggering under the blows of growing smart-phone use, are taking the brunt of the changes. That impact is altering the hardware in both base stations and backhaul networks.
One of the architectural features coming under pressure is the base station’s baseband processor. The implementation of choice for this critical block in 3G days was either an array of DSP chips backed by massively expensive FPGA offload engines, or one of a few ASSPs. But Alan Taylor, director of marketing at Mindspeed, argues that neither of those approaches will scale to full LTE/WiMAX without rearchitecting. The FPGAs will have to move up to higher throughputs and to displace the DSPs, and the ASSPs will need a generational respin.