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RFEL, RDE offer complex high-speed FPGA

Posted: 19 Sep 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fpga? 52mhz? rheinmetall defence electronics?

U.K.-based signal-processing specialist RF Engines Ltd (RFEL) and Germany's leading defense technology company Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE) GmbH have released details of a recently signed contract. The contract relates to the supply and integration of complex high-speed FPGA signal processing designs for an advanced flexible communication channelizer and a 52MHz real-time spectrum analyzer. Both designs will be housed on the same hardware platform. Specific details of the application are restricted.

The customized SoC designs are based upon RFEL's unique range of specialist architectures, and the contract includes the integration of the designs into the system hardware.

The channelization system divides up the wideband input signal into hundreds of narrower band channels for subsequent demodulation and analysis, and utilizes RF Engines' unique, patented, tunable architectures. The system allows the user to independently tune the centre frequency of each channel, and select from different filter shapes and bandwidths in order to adapt the system in a changing signal environment.

The focus of the design is silicon efficiency - with the entire channelization function implemented on a single FPGA device. This high level of integration has provided RDE with a dramatic upgrade to its existing channelization system, which requires many dedicated ASIC chips on several boards to perform the same function.

In addition to the channelizer core, RFEL is also supplying an FPGA based spectrum analyzer core and the associated display software for the same platform. This core utilizes RFEL's high-speed real-time Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) technology to provide a 52MHz continuous bandwidth capability. During initial set up of the communications system, the spectrum analyzer core can be loaded into the hardware and a spectral display is provided using a PC based application. Providing this additional capability on the same hardware platform means that a separate spectrum analyzer instrument will not be required during set up of the system. The real-time performance of the FPGA based spectrum analyzer also allows short duration signals to be analyzed in more detail than with a conventional swept spectrum analyzer instrument.

John Summers, RFEL's CEO, commented, "We are very pleased to be working with RDE again on such a major program. RFEL has significant experience at both the system and at the chip level in this sort of communications monitoring application, and so it is a particularly interesting and enjoyable project. RDE has a very clear vision of what they and their customers require, so consequently the teams work together extremely well."

J|rgen Pr|sse, VP Marketing and Business Development for RDE commented, "This is an important project which is technically challenging across all elements of the design. We are confident that we will deliver the most advanced system of its type to our customer on schedule, and also have great confidence in the supply of the key technologies to complement our in-house skills. RFEL has proven capabilities in this highly specialist area and we look forward to further growing our long-term relationship with them over many years as we do with our other key suppliers."

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