picoChip claims to be the first baseband company to support the newly announced Femto Forum LTE application programming interfaces (API). The new APIs help developers of LTE femtocells integrate subsystems from different suppliers, reducing integration cost and time and accelerating development of femtocells and other ‘small cell’ base stations, which are critically important for LTE network deployment.

This new Femto Forum initiative addresses three fundamental LTE femtocell functions: The interface from baseband to radio; scheduling (to assign packets to frequency and time slots); and network monitoring (to minimize interference with the macro network and optimize femtocell coverage). Crucially, the APIs enable vendors like picoChip to differentiate with unique approaches to the various key areas, while helping ensure their solutions are compatible with other compliant femtocell components and subsystems.

"Femtocells deliver the kinds of speeds that simply can’t be delivered by the macro network alone without breaking the bank,” said Caroline Gabriel, Co-founder of analyst firm Rethink Technology Research. ”If we are going to move from a situation where many markets go from several thousand cell sites to several million, then femtocells will be essential to complement conventional macro networks.”

The LTE APIs have been defined over the past two years with contributions from many companies. picoChip’s PC8608/9 LTE products, which form the basis of the system level products the company has developed with partners, demonstrates the reality of these standards.