San Jose, Calif. - Hardware-based IC-prototyping system vendor Aptix Corp. is working with SoftRISC Communication Solutions Inc., a supplier of field-deployed communication software solutions, on a voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) development and prototyping environment based on the ARM PrimeXsys Platform.
Charlie Miller, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Aptix (www.aptix.com), said the collaboration will give users a head start in developing system-on-chip (SoC) devices using the ARM926EJ(F)-S PrimeXSys Platform.
"We are directly addressing the problem people face in validating and developing an SoC," said Miller. "Both Aptix and SoftRISC are ARM partners and, because of this, we are able to configure a system that works out of the box for developing VoIP applications. It cuts the time it takes for users to validate their application and develop their hardware and software."
Under the collaboration, Aptix has developed a "logic tile" configuration of the ARM926EJ(F)-S platform for Aptix's System Explorer prototyping system. Aptix has premapped or preprogrammed the PrimeXSys platform into the Virtex-II 8000 FPGAs of Xilinx Inc. that reside on System Explorer. SoftRISC's VoIP applications-including G.7xx voice codecs, G.167 AEC, G.168 LEC, CallerID, T.38 fax and others-have been ported to the Aptix development and prototyping environment.
"What that means is that somebody can get the system which has the ARM core and PrimeXSys platform running with full visibility of internal registers," said Miller. "Users can add their custom logic over multilayer Amba [bus]. And on top of this, we can put SoftRISC's VoIP application software, so users have a baseline system up and running on day one. Instead of starting at step one, users are starting at step three."
No need for DSP
Ashok Setty, chief executive officer of SoftRISC (www.softrisc.com
), said that the company's communication software al-lows ARM processors to handle VoIP applications, previously the domain of a separate DSP core. SoftRISC's customers are trying to design the DSP out of products such as IP phones, PDAs, residential gateways and multimedia set-top boxes, he said. "We specialize in the ARM architecture," Setty said. "We go into the algorithms and conform the algorithms to meet the strengths and weaknesses of the CPU. ARM doesn't have all the DSP enhancements the DSP block would provide so we have to live with limitations of the CPU and still enable the standard compliances. But using SoftRISC takes away additional system complexity and memory requirements, and saves on space, bill of materials and power."
Miller said that the system will be available only to licensees of the ARM926EJ(F)-S PrimeXSys Platform. The companies will demonstrate an early version at electronicaUSA with the Embedded Systems Conference, beginning March 29 in San Francisco. The full system is expected to be ready for commercial availability in the second quarter.
Pricing for Aptix's System Explorer prototype development platforms, which include the ARMINT3 Logic Tile Interface and sufficient FPGA capacity for the PrimeXsys Platform and 1 million gates of customer-designed logic, starts at $80,000. Pricing for SoftRISC's VoIP software components starts at $75,000.