Software Speeds LTE/WCDMA Base Station Delivery

March 6, 2013
Texas Instrument's Keystone SoC targets LTE/WCDMA base station applications but it needs high performance software to work. TI's latest software offering makes that happen more quickly.

Texas Instrument's (TI) multicore Keystone system-on-chip (SoC) platforms target the wireless base station market (see “Heterogeneous Multicore Targets The Cloud”). The come in combinations that include a mix of Arm Cortex-A15's and C66x DSP cores (Fig. 1) along with a variety of hardware accelerators that address communication security and packet processing.

Figure 1. The Keystone architecture links multiple Arm Cortex-A15, C66x DSP cores with an array of hardware accelerators to provide the performance required by today's wireless base stations.

These SoCs are very powerful but their complexity is matched by the software that needs to drive it. Combine that with the complexity of the technology like the LTE wireless standards (Fig. 2) and one gets an idea of what type of software is required to make everything work. The new TI Base Station SoftwarePac is designed as a plug-and-play solution for OEMs allowing them to take advantage of the latest hardware. The software is modular, configurable and extensible. For example, developers could incorporate their own MIMO support or for enhanced interference cancellation . The software allows designers to address the range of SoCs as well as application areas from small, multimode, LTE/WCMDA cell base stations on up. The platform lets developers address heterogeneous, pico, micro and macro environments.

Figure 2. The TI Base Station SoftwarePac address the complete LTE wireless protocol stack.

The software is production ready but its APIs can be used by OEMs to improve or replace functionality or provide support for specific customers. The TI multicore software development kit (MCSDK) incorporates the transport software package with flow-through fast-path acceleration that takes advantage of the KeyStone data plane and control plane processing accelerators (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. The TI Base Station SoftwarePac is a complete plug-and-play solution with APIs that OEMs can utilize to differentiate their products.

The software has been optimized and validated for intercore and interchip communication. It supports TI's SYS/BIOS on the C66x side and Linux on the Arm Cortex-A15 side. It can deliver over 1.5 Mpackets/s with high end hardware.

The API provides hooks for testing. It also gives access to system statistics and key performance indicators (KPI) . Developers can run both LTE/WCDMA stacks or either separately. The platform has been used by vendors such as ZTE and Sub10 .

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