The folks at RF Engines Limited (RFEL) are renowned for their world-class expertise with regard to creating digital RF channeliser cores for use in FPGAs. Now they've extended their core offerings to encompass the next processing stage of the communication system pipeline – demodulator cores.
There is a growing demand to be able to monitor large numbers of channels simultaneously for a variety of applications; for example, surveillance systems. The guys and gals at RFEL have built a stellar reputation for the quality, efficiency, and performance of their digital RF channeliser cores for use in FPGAs (Figure 1)
The next stage in the process is demodulation. If channelisation and demodulation are considered at the same time, the result is a more optimal system design. Thus, RFEL has extending its offerings by creating a new generation of demodulator cores that efficiently complement the channelisers (Figure 2).
These demodulator cores facilitate the simultaneous monitoring of a large number of modulated channels. Examples include one application targeting over 50 channels in the limited resources of a single Xilinx Virtex-II FPGA, another example addresses more than 120 channels in a Virtex 6 device.
Building blocks include many typical demodulation functions such as symbol timing recovery, fine frequency/phase estimation and correction, and SNR estimation. RFEL engineers now combine these functions to support multiple demodulation schemes simultaneously – providing parallel soft-symbol data stream outputs.
Figure 1. RFEL channeliser IP cores
RFEL continues to innovate, producing high performance cores that can be optimally mapped onto both low-end, low-cost FPGAs as well as the most advanced specification FPGAs. Many of the demodulator functions have been realised by exploiting techniques pioneered on the established portfolio of award-winning signal processing cores, such as those using high performance FFTs.
Figure 2. RFEL demodulator IP cores
The company will release several demodulator functions as standalone IP for customers to use in their own designs in the same way that RFEL has offered extensive libraries of functionality to the DSP market over the last 10 years (they also offer system-level IP and design services as required). The folks at RFEL say that their compact demodulator and channeliser solutions cost less, take up a fraction of the rack space of current products on the market (significantly reducing board count in some applications), and use less power. Also that many of their customers have realised the significant benefits of sourcing a demodulator solution from the same company that developed the channeliser for their project – not the least that a common validation framework and reduction in integration times decreases their overall project risks considerably.
RFEL say that their new range of demodulator cores will be available for licensing later in 2010.