TI launches SDR development platform - Embedded.com

TI launches SDR development platform

Texas Instruments' Small Form Factor Software Defined Radio (SDR) Development Platform offers developers hardware and software flexibility.

Unlike other SDR development offerings, TI's SDR Development Platform is a hardware/software co-development environment that supplies the full signal chain for a multi-protocol software defined radio, including RF front-end module, A/D and D/A data conversion module and digital processing module.

Multi-protocol radio applications include military, public safety, commercial, Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) and land mobile radio (LMR) communication systems as well as RFID readers.

The platform interfaces seamlessly with the Simulink model-based design tool and developers can use either C/HDL or MATLAB Simulink to quickly test proof-of-concept designs and then optimize the architecture for cost and power.

By separating out the baseband, IF, and RF as distinct modules rather than as a single fixed architecture, developers are able to extend their radio development capabilities, as well as optimize for cost and power consumption, by substituting their own or third party modules. This flexibility is vital, as it gives developers the ability to adjust their products around the industry's constantly varying requirements.

The digital processing module capitalizes on the performance and architecture benefits of TI's TMS320DM6446 system on chip (SoC) which is comprised of TI's TMS320CC64x+ digital signal processor (DSP) core and an ARM9 general-purpose processor.

Because the DM6446 device is equipped with both a DSP and ARM on a single chip, developers benefit from reduced system space and cost. Additionally, TI's DM6446 SoC comes complete with a full set of peripherals necessary for SDR, including serial ports, USB and Ethernet connections and DDR2 and NAND flash memory.

The module also comes with a Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA for modem co-processing and acceleration functions. The use of the Xilinx Virtex-4 SX35 gives developers enough performance headroom with low enough power to implement custom IP and acceleration functions that have varying requirements from one protocol to another supported on the same hardware.

The Data Conversion module includes two ADS5500 analog to digital converters, offering 14-bits performance at 125 Mega samples per second (MSPS) and one DAC5687, a 16-bit dual channel digital to analog data converter with 500 MSPS performance from TI.

The standard RF module included in the kit covers from 360 MHz to 960 MHz with a selectable 5 MHz or 20 MHz bandwidth, supporting a wide range of applications. The platform also utilizes TI's MSP430 ultra low power MCU and power management technology.

As part of the development platform, TI has partners with other companies to provide the necessary software components and tools to enable rapid SDR development. Lyrtech developed the hardware for the platform and integrated all of the software components of the kit.

Relying upon its industry-leading expertise in developing DSP+FPGA architectures, Lyrtech will also provide custom support for TI's SDR Development Platform.

Green Hills' Integrity real-time operating system running on the ARM provides the ideal environment for implementing higher layers of radio protocols.

Objective Interface Systems (OIS) is supplying the Object Request Broker (ORB) middleware for the ARM9, the DSP, and FPGA for the SCA version of the platform. The ORB middleware substantially reduces development complexity and enables algorithm code portability.

The Communications Research Centre of Canada (CRC) supplies the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) core framework, as per version 2.2, that enables flexible implementation of different waveforms and protocols. Full reference design specs, as well as a complete bill-of-materials (BOM), will be available to developers.

Because of the inherent mobility requirements of wireless radios, power consumption is an important factor that is a key challenge in creating an efficient and cost-effective radio design. The SDR Development Platform includes a Power Measurement API which enables developers to track real-world power consumption of the digital baseband unit precisely while algorithm functions are being executed.

The development kit includes five different API functions to measure power consumption for all the elements of the kit. The Power Measurement API gives developers more visibility into their systems, enabling them to measure currents drawn from individual components such as the DSP and the FPGA.

This enables developers to extract important information such as burst and peak power for a specific data rate, enabling them to accurately isolate components as well as accurately estimate battery life.

The Small Form Factor Software Defined Radio Development Platform (TMDSSFFSDRDP) without the SCA core framework or ORB costs $9,900 and is available through TI distributors.

A reduced feature version of the SDR Development Platform for evaluation and development of digital baseband processing software (TMDSSFFSDREVM) is also available for $2,900.

The full and reduced feature versions of the kit include free evaluation copies of TI, Xilinx and GreenHills software and tools.

More information is available at www.ti.com.

An Enhanced SCA version of the SDR Development platform including licensed copies of the complete software suite including SCA framework and ORB middleware is offered directly by Lyrtech.

More information is available at www.lyrtech.com.

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