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Program speeds up turbo code selection for wireless comm apps

Posted: 27 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cambridge consultants? software program? turbo code? wireless communication systems? turbodesigner?

Cambridge Consultants disclosed that it has developed a software program that demystifies and accelerates the selection of turbo codes for wireless communication systems. Called TurboDesigner, this tool addresses real-world issues that electronic design teams implementing wireless base stations and terminals face when looking to adopt a turbo code based forward error correction (FEC) strategy. The company added that this allows the rapid simulation of application-specific coding/decoding.

Available as an element of Cambridge Consultants' design services, the software can reveal the optimum FEC strategy, potentially eliminating weeks of complex design and evaluation using conventional methods such as Monte Carlo simulation, said the press release.

"Our experience has taught us that the right turbo coding implementation can double the coverage or data rate of a wireless system, or halve the amount of transmission power required," said Monty Barlow, DSP Group Leader at Cambridge Consultants. "The technology is extremely desirablebut the problem comes with real-world implementations of decodersespecially those designed for high data rate applications like WiMAX. There are a large number of factors a designer needs to tweak, each with its own subtle effect on performance and cost. This software produces accurate and quick measurement of turbo code performance."

The TurboDesigner package offers a large selection of turbo encoding and decoding options, with a simple user interface that allows configuration of parameters to understand their effects, including MAP (Maximum A Posteriori) algorithm choice, mathematical precision, windowing length, iterations, block length, and channel type. Highly efficient C-compiled libraries then provide speedy simulations of results. Once a choice of code has been made, the package will also synthesize realistic test vectors for HDL simulations, and analyze the outputs from

the simulations, providing project teams with a high integrity basis for subsequent decisions on hardware implementations in ASICs, FPGAs, etc, explained the company.

"Shrinking silicon costs are now enabling wider exploitation of the relatively new technology of turbo codes," added Barlow. "For us, the first major focus has been for WiMAX development workwhere no suitable off-the-shelf cores exist and we need to design our own hardwarebut we also expect turbo codes to be a significant enabler for other emerging wireless systems such as digital broadcasting and even UWB."

Developed to support its wireless system design consultancy, TurboDesigner is freely available to clients as an element of the advice or development services offered by Cambridge Consultants. A datasheet on TurboDesigner is available from the company's website.

Turbo codes are a relatively new class of error correction codes that are improving the quality of data transfer over limited bandwidth and error-prone links. The technology comes closest to facilitating the theoretical 'Shannon' limit of maximum information transfer rate over a noisy channel.

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