SAN JOSE--Altera Corp. today announced a partnership with the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to collaborate in development of advanced wireless communications technology for manufacturers, government agencies, and consumer service providers.
Under the partnership, Altera said it hopes to have programmable chips designed into next-generation wireless systems, which will include wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) transceivers, software-defined radio systems, and smart antennae.
The San Jose company also aims to gain "insight into the future requirements of these products, aiding us in our product planning," said Hiro Higuma, director of communications segment marketing at Altera. "Finally, we expose the next generation of engineers in this field to the benefits of system-on-a-programmable chip (SOPC) solutions," he added.
Several projects are already using Altera programmable logic products. For example, a single-channel W-CDMA transceiver has been built using Altera APEX programmable logic devices, said professor Dong Ha, who is in Virginia Tech's VLSI for Telecommunications Lab. "In the next version of the project, I plan to use Altera's Nios embedded processor because its customizability makes it a good choice to handle tasks like tap delays, finger assignment and channel estimation," he said.
In software-defined radio systems, programmable logic can be used for in-field reconfigurability, noted Jeff Reed, the head of the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group at Virginia Tech. Reed also said smart antenna systems in third-generation (3G) cellular networks require high-performance digital signal processing and I/O throughput that is not currently available with off-the-shelf DSP chips. He suggested that programmable logic platforms for DSP tasks could increase data throughput by 400% in 3G wireless systems using smart antennae.