Pletronics has been in the crystal oscillator business since inception in 1979. They are based in Lynnwood, Washington (near Seattle) USA, where they manufacture femtocell oscillators in their own production facilities alongside a wider product range.
They have a broad range of customers including military and leading internet equipment vendors and are the preferred supplier to Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and many other well known brands.
As a volume manufacturer with many other product lines, femtocells are a very small part of their overall business today, but one they expect to grow rapidly in the next few years.
Pletronics had an early involvement with RadioFrame who are located nearby here in Washington State, and worked closely with them to meet the tight tolerances and low costs required. These original timing solutions for femtocells were based on OCXO (Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillators) that cost up to $75 each. These designs were refined and the price point dropped to around $25.
Since then, TCVCXO (Temperature Compensated Voltage Controller Oscillators) have dramatically reduced the cost further, and are now in the $4 range for volume orders. These consist of a package comprising crystal, IC (integrated circuit) and it’s enclosure – overall a much simpler construction than earlier OCXO devices.
Pletronics oscillators can be used as a primary or alternative component to ensure security of supply for their customers. Some femtocell vendors have designed their circuit board to accept oscillators from more than one vendor so that the choice can be made during each production run.