As you may recall, about a year or so ago I was waffling on about Xilinx making an entry into EdgeQAM space. Well, time certainly races by here in programmable space (where no one can hear you scream) – I just heard that the folks at RADX Technologies, Xilinx, and Analog Devices Inc (ADI) are demonstrating the industry’s most scalable range of off-the-shelf, programmable EdgeQAM technology solutions at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2012 (RADX Booth No. 2304).
As an aside, if you are a bit "fluffy around the edges" when it comes to EdgeQAM, may I be so bold as to suggest that you peruse and ponder the What's an Edge QAM, Again? column on Translation-Please.com
But we digress… the innovative solutions we are talking about here enable cable TV equipment OEMs to develop and deploy next-generation EdgeQAM products that address cable TV operators’ most demanding QAM applications – from hospitality to full CCAP solutions.
Based on technologies from RADX (a Certified Xilinx Alliance Program member), Xilinx and Analog Devices, these EdgeQAM technology solutions enable OEMs to deploy low-cost, low-power, yet extremely advanced, programmable systems equipped with 28nm Xilinx Kintex-7 and/or Virtex-7 All Programmable FPGAs, Analog Devices' AD9129 DACs, and FrontierEQ IP cores from RADX Technologies.
The RADX IP cores include J.83 Annex A/C/B cores that are available for 32 to 160 unicast channels and up to 640 unicast/broadcast channels supported within a single FPGA, a frequency-agile Digital Up-Converter (DUC) that enables arbitrary placement of channels at specific frequencies and a Digital Pre-Distortion (DPD) module (based on Non-Linear Correction technology licensed from Analog Devices) that improves DAC linearity across the Cable TV spectrum.
“Our collaboration with Xilinx and Analog Devices has resulted in a watershed solution for EdgeQAM system OEMs,”
said Ross Q. Smith, RADX Technologies CEO and co-founder. “The FrontierEQ EdgeQAM IP cores and reference platforms fully exploit the superior capabilities of Xilinx 7 series FPGAs and Analog Devices DACs to enable OEMs of all sizes to deploy the most advanced, power-efficient and high-performance EdgeQAM solutions in the market in record time and on budget. And because the solutions are programmable, we’ve virtually eliminated the risks associated with supporting new standards that are inherent to fixed-function, ASIC-based solutions.”Future-proof capability
One of the most important benefits of the RADX/Xilinx/ADI EdgeQAM technology solutions is programmability, an intrinsic feature of the solution’s Xilinx FPGA-based foundation, which enables OEMs to reprogram the solution in the field or at the factory to meet evolving industry standards and/or customer requirements. This “future proof” capability that derives from the solution’s architecture is a unique benefit of programmable solutions when compared to ASIC-based approaches.Scalability, channel density, and low power
Another major advantage to basing EdgeQAM products on FPGAs is that they allow OEMs to integrate their electronic components into a single IC, which reduces the bill-of-material (BOM) costs and powering requirements, key industry requirements for next-generation EdgeQAM systems.
By exploiting the extensibility of the RADX FrontierEQ IP J.83 core and the range of capabilities available in the Xilinx 7 series family of FPGAs, the EdgeQAM technology solution provides unprecedented scalability and channel density with optimized support for up to 12 RF ports per 1U system or blade and between 32 and 160 QAM channels per RF port, which can enable literally hundreds of channels per subsystem, all while maintaining or reducing the effective power per channel consumed from prior generation, less efficient solutions.
In fact, the typical system power for a medium sized CCAP solution is less than 135 milliwatts (mW) per channel (as measured on a 2-RF port, 320-CCAP channel solution with standard RADX FrontierEQ EdgeQAM IP core set, Xilinx Virtex-7 X485T FPGA and external DDR3 memories, dual ADI AD9129 DACs and power amps). “Xilinx, together with RADX and Analog Devices, has developed production-deployable solutions for OEMs that gives them a comprehensive foundation for building scalable, low-power EdgeQAM solutions to which they can add their own differentiating IP,”
said Aaron Behman, senior manager, Xilinx broadcast and consumer marketing. “Cable equipment OEMs can accelerate the time-to-market for their next-generation EdgeQAMs while ensuring their products are ‘future proof’ and immune to changing standards and differentiated from the competition.” Flexible, high performance
The solutions include the FrontierEQ agile DUC and NLC, which, when combined with the new Analog Device AD9129, enables OEMs and their customers to place channels at any frequency in real-time while achieving an average, equalized Modulation Error Ratio (MER) greater than 45 dB across the entire Cable TV spectrum. This flexibility and performance enables OEMs to readily meet rigorous DRFI and CCAP RF standards.
“The collaboration with RADX and Xilinx has resulted in a competitive and scalable DOCSIS 3.0 compliant cable downstream reference design solution for OEMs,”
said Carlton Lane, Analog Devices High Speed DAC marketing manager. “The AD9129 is the industry’s fastest DAC at 5.6 GSPS and its 1.4 GHz of bandwidth enables the full cable spectrum to be synthesized in a single RF port. In addition, its industry leading power and small PC board footprint, when coupled with the latest Xilinx 7 series FPGAs and RADX’s IP core and reference design expertise, brings a compelling EdgeQAM solution to this market.”Reference platforms approach
To simplify OEM development efforts and reduce time to market, RADX has developed a family of integrated FrontierEQ EdgeQAM RADX FrontierEQ reference platforms, including models equipped with a Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA VC707 or Kintex-7 FPGA KC705 Evaluation Kit, Analog Devices AD9129 Evaluation Boards, as well as RADX value-added precision timing and power supply modules, the FrontierEQ firmware, test software and support. With the FrontierEQ reference platform, OEMs can get up and running on their integration efforts virtually overnight, as opposed to spending precious design time integrating the various components to make them work.
Pricing and availability
The FrontierEQ EdgeQAM IP cores and reference platforms are available today from RADX with standard lead times. Please contact RADX Technologies (firstname.lastname@example.org
) for additional information on the products, the company, or a quotation.
Xilinx’s Kintex-7 and Virtex-7 FPGAs and related evaluation kits are also available today with standard lead times. Click Here
for more information
The Analog Devices AD9129 and associated Evaluation boards are available today with standard new product lead times. Please contact Carlton Lane, Marketing manager, at email@example.com
for a quotation.
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