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The World's First Field-Programmable RF Chip

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GSMD
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The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
GSMD   2/12/2014 8:36:25 PM
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So we can finally start seeing cost effective SDRs. This is a really nice part, time to proto a simple SDR with it, hope they have a cheap enough dev kit.  I wonder if it is power effective enough to consolidates radios in a type mobile chipset. Would be nice to consolidate basic WiFi, Zigbee and 2G GSM with a single radio for industrial apps. Freq range is good enough to accomodate 2.4 G WiFi.

truekop
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
truekop   2/12/2014 9:18:39 PM
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AD9361 from Analog Devices is an another example...

GSMD
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
GSMD   2/12/2014 11:10:43 PM
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I looked at teh AS part, has better specs but does not seem to have PAs. This part just needs a balun. Or am I mistaken ? The openBTS guys use it.

 

Planning a  Xilix Zync + Lime/AD board for open source SDR. The nuand board is cool too. From Amateur Radio gus in teh US. www.nuand.com (uses the Lime part + Altera + ARM).

 

But an FPGA with ARM integrated will reduce board size and BOM.

GSMD
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
GSMD   2/12/2014 11:10:45 PM
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I looked at teh AS part, has better specs but does not seem to have PAs. This part just needs a balun. Or am I mistaken ? The openBTS guys use it.

 

Planning a  Xilix Zync + Lime/AD board for open source SDR. The nuand board is cool too. From Amateur Radio gus in teh US. www.nuand.com (uses the Lime part + Altera + ARM).

 

But an FPGA with ARM integrated will reduce board size and BOM.

GSMD
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
GSMD   2/12/2014 11:10:46 PM
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I looked at teh AS part, has better specs but does not seem to have PAs. This part just needs a balun. Or am I mistaken ? The openBTS guys use it.

 

Planning a  Xilix Zync + Lime/AD board for open source SDR. The nuand board is cool too. From Amateur Radio gus in teh US. www.nuand.com (uses the Lime part + Altera + ARM).

 

But an FPGA with ARM integrated will reduce board size and BOM.

DrFPGA
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But how is it configured?
DrFPGA   2/13/2014 1:00:40 AM
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Is it configured via an external serial PROM on on-chip Flash?

Lots of chips are configurable but that doesn't make them FPGAs (in my book).

If it has fabric (look-up tables or the equivalent) and programmable routing resources then its moving into FPGA land...

salbayeng
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
salbayeng   2/13/2014 1:51:20 AM
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I'm not sure why one would want to use a FPGA on a RF chip , given the existence of RF MCU's like the Si1000 series. You can program pretty much every RF function, and the MCU already has capability built into it to do complex packet assembly, and resend on error, and buffer handling.

So $4 buys you a SDR already off the shelf, without having to spent $1000's on getting the FPGA right.

and $20 buys you a UART with the Si1000  :

http://www.hoperf.com/rf/data_link_module/HM-TRP-RS232.htm 

(you can access the important parameters like frequenecy, modulation mode, IF filters etc through the serial port)

@GSMD:  There is another problem with wanting to do multi band radios with a single chip, and that relates to the necessity of having inductors and filters to limit harmonics , not a  problem if your SDR is receive only , but transmitters and transceivers need fairly complex analogue design to meet various regulatory requirements. If you stick to one band , say 2400MHz, then you can use the LCL filter on the datasheet.

Silabs do make Devkits, and modules for the Si1000 range (and others) . Search your favorite distributor for Si1000DK , pretty good value at < $100. (The Si1000 uses 8051 opcodes so no steep learning curve there) . (The Si1000 does 250-960MHz , 20dBm Rx -121dBm Rx , which is as good as you would get from an analog radio).   

paul.dillien
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
paul.dillien   2/13/2014 6:26:19 AM
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Yes, GSMD.  As one of the contributors noted, Nuand (http://nuand.com/) amongst others has combined an FPRF and an FPGA to provide a low cost board capable of SDR.  If you want just the FPRF on a dev kit, then the company supports an open source initiative (http://myriadrf.org/) where users can order a board and find more information.

GSMD
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
GSMD   2/13/2014 7:29:02 AM
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I realize the xmit issues will be there. Was planning plugin filter modules for different freq ranges as an alternative but not sure how the extra connectors will do to attenuation.of course this means the xmit is stuck to one band. Fortunately have access to a full fledged rf lab and an anechoic chamber. There is a group that does lte basestations so I figure they can help me out. Let me play with a couple of these kits including the nuand to see it pans out.

paul.dillien
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Re: The dawn of affordable SDRs ?
paul.dillien   2/13/2014 8:14:04 AM
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Hi Truekop.  Spot on.  This blog was originally posted last year, before the ADI AD9361 device was released.  But hot news this week is that Lime has a new part too called LMS7002M.  I am planning a blog to look at both the new devices in the near future.

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