LONDON Cognovo, a 2009 startup focused on developing software-defined modems (SDMs) for 4G communications, has provided some details of its SDM platform, including that a multimode modem implementation should occupy just 6 square millimeters in a leading-edge process.
Cognovo Ltd. (Melbourn, England) is a 2009 startup formed by the four founders of TTPCom, a developer of protocol stacks for mobile communications that rose to prominence in the 1990s. Their new venture is likely to come into competition with Icera Inc. (Bristol, England), founded in 2002, which also offers software modems to run on a dedicated processor engine.
The Cognovo SDM platform comprises the Modem Compute Engine (MCE); a licensable processor sub-system, the SDM Operating System (SDM-OS) and a fully integrated development suite. The SDM platform is based on the Ardbeg Vector Signal Processor technology spun out from ARM.
The SDM platform is under evaluation at some handset OEMs and is now based on the Optimode DSP platform developed by ARM in Belgium by a team that is now part of Cognovo (see ARM boosts Cognovo with Belgian DSP). The technology is expected to appear in handsets during 2012.
Cognovo claimed that using the SDM platform can cut development times can be reduced by 9 to 12 months compared with a hardware-based modem design approach. In addition, designs can remain flexible closer to deployment. However, Cognovo also said it has overcome problems of power consumption associated with software-based modems. These problems have restricted the commercial deployment of SDR to predominately military and infrastructure applications.