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ADI to develop WiMAX basestation PHY with Siworks

Posted: 04 Nov 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog devices? siworks? wimax basestation? tigersharc? dsp?

Analog Devices Inc. has agreed with Siworks Inc. to implement the physical layer of a WiMAX basestation on ADI's TigerSharc DSP using Siworks' IEEE 802.16 system expertise and intellectual property. A WiMAX development kit based on the BittWare T2PCI board will be provided.

According to Chuck Millet, product line manager at Analog Devices, the flexible baseband will leverage the TS201's processing power, 4GBps I/O throughput, multiprocessing support and 24Mb of on-board memory to enable a scalable architecture that will also cater to future mobile versions based on 802.16e. The TS201 also includes a communications logic unit to handle many of the specific processing functions of WiMAX's 256-carrier orthogonal frequency division multiplex (OFDM) interface, such as correlation and channel estimation.

While WiMAX chip development to date is focused on ASICs, Millet is convinced that a programmable route is the way to go, especially in the early stages of development as the specifications gel and interoperability testing gets underway in early 2005. While the TS201 can handle much of the processing, according to Jeff Stevenson, a systems engineer at ADI, a partitioning of functions between the DSP and an FPGA will be required as the channel widths go up. FPGA-specific functions include forward error correction and Reed-Solomon decoding.

That partitioning requirement is designed to cater to the BittWare T2PCI board, which contains four 600MHz TS201s and one Xilinx Virtex-II Pro FPGA. While Stevenson admitted that a Xilinx-II pro and four TS201's seemed like overkill, he said the Virtex is what comes on the board already and that a Spartan 3 or Cyclone FPGA could also perform the required processing in reality. "However, the Virtex does allow scalability," he added.

As for the four DSPs, he said one could be used for the core channel processing, another for the adaptive beam forming that will likely be used with WiMAX basestations and another could be used to emulate the subscriber side. No word on the fourth.

While ADI is offering libraries for lower-level functions now, the Siworks system software will not be available until February or March, Millet said. The BittWare board costs $5,000 in OEM quantities.

- Patrick Mannion

EE Times

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