LONDON RadioScape has developed a software controlled, single chip RF front end that can handle six frequency bands for use in digital and analog radio applications.
The RF chip combines with a standard DSP chip that runs RadioScape’s baseband digital radio software and also controls the RFIC to form a two chip solution, which RadioScape (London, England) says dramatically reduces the power consumption and size of modules compared with current generation designs.
It also claims the device is the first such part that can handle six such very different bands --- Band III and L-Band for DAB, medium wave, long wave and short wave for AM and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), and Band II for FM.
The company plans to offer a range of modules using the RFICs that maintain the size and pin configurations of existing modules. Samples are expected to be available next month.
The chip uses both zero-IF and super-heterodyne methods to achieve the stringent requirements of the variety of standards and frequencies.
“This new RF IC is a breakthrough technology for RadioScape that will revolutionize multi-standard, multi-band digital radio,” said John Hall, RadioScape’s CEO.
Hall adds the part is the result of an initiative started over two years ago to create a platform for the company’s next generation radios. “The objective was to create a highly flexible RF device that would complement our software-defined radio approach, timed to coincide with the emerging DRM market, and we have done that.”
RadioScape’s approach has been to partition the radio system so as to allow maximum re-use of the digital components by loading only the appropriate baseband stack into the DSP, as and when required.
Dave Hawkins, VP of Business Development at RadioScape, said: “Dynamic configuration of the RF path on the RF IC is controlled by the DSP using software algorithms to ensure the optimization of both performance and power consumption. The result is a multi-frequency RF device that requires less than half the power used by the equivalent circuits in our current generation of multi-standard modules.”
The company says the tight integration of the chip enables the board real estate for the front end RF to be reduced from typically 30 sq cms (covering both sides of the board) to only 9 sq cms on a single-sided board design for all standards, and even smaller if a subset of standards and frequency bands is required.