The South East Development Agency (SEEDA) has awarded Isle of Wight headquartered RF Engines Limited (RFEL) a grant to undertake research a flexible receiver architecture that is reconfigurable ‘on-the-fly’. RFEL is a specialist in high performance signal processing design, and develops techniques in signal processing on FPGAs and RF design.
The architecture will be used to create a portable digital receiver that can scan the spectrum from zero up to 5.84GHz. Current systems typically only go up to 3GHz. Potential applications for the wideband receiver could include commercial wireless communications such as wireless base stations, and test and measurement applications.
According to RFEL the architecture could in the future be used in hand-held media devices using a wider of RF frequencies for applications such as WiMax, GPS, 3G, Bluetooth, Wireless LAN and Mobile TV. A reconfigurable receiver would provide a cheaper and smaller solution than a number of dedicated receiver circuits.
RFEL’s design approach combines flexible analogue and digital elements which together allow the system to be reconfigured through software and firmware for the requirements of each application. This creates a Software Defined Radio (SDR) which increases the amount of digital signal processing, moving the analogue/digital boundary closer to the antenna, which reduces the complexity and limitations of the RF front-end. The company also believes the solution will result in lower power consumption, smaller size, wideband performance and enhanced system performance.
RFEL currently focuses on intellectual property designs for firmware, but this project should lead to the development and production of a number of receivers