Hello. My name is Emile; I work for the sales department at Nutaq. I’m here to present the PicoSDR, one of Nutaq’s software-defined radio platform. We provide solutions that have a strong software integration in order to greatly reduce development time. Let me show how we do this.
The PicoSDR is our platform for waveform development. It’s based on a FPGA and has an RF front-end. Application include mobile wireless communications, connective radio, and wireless spectrum analysis, for example. The processing in the PicoSDR can be shared between a Virtex-6 FPGA and a general purpose processor. The PicoSDR comes in 3 versions: The first one has a 2-input and 2-output radio transceiver. The second one has a 4-input and 4-output radio transceiver, and finally, the third version has a 2-input and 2-output radio transceiver and comes with an embedded CPU base on Intel Core I7.
This is the version of the PicoSDR with an embedded PC. On the left-hand side, you can see the embedded PC: It has Ethernet ports, HDMI port, 2 USB ports for, for example, plugging the keyboard and mouse. On the right-hand side, you have the radio inputs and outputs, as well as the ports for synchronizing the clock. On the backside of the PicoSDR, you will find 2GB Ethernet ports, handling throughputs to up to 128MB per second. A PCIe X4 port handling throughput up to 700MB per second, and SATA port for plugging an external recording device. You’ll also have a USB port for accessing the UART, a JTAG port for debugging and programming the FPGA, the power supply connector, as well as the power button.
What is great is that all these I/Os: Ethernet, PCI express, and the RF I/Os can be used as soon as you open the PicoSDR box. No VHDL coding is required because Nutaq provides all the IP cores necessary on the FPGA. No coding is required either on the host PC side, the distant computer side because Nutaq provides all the drivers, and a comprehensive API that allows you to code within the C environment; your functions that will, for example, send data, stream data to PicoSDR through gigabit Ethernet or configure the radio board.
Nutaq Software integration allows you to work within two different environments. The first one is for the HDL coders where you work within Xilinx ISE environment and you can use Nutaq’s IP core for sending and receiving data through a gigabit Ethernet, for example, or configuring the radio interface within an ISE project. Then you will use your existing VHDL code and interface it with Nutaq’s existing IP. The second option is to work within Xilinx System Generator inside MATLAB’s Simulink environment. In this case, you will use a model-based approach where you have Nutaq’s IP core as blocks within the Xilinx System Generator environment, and you can use the rest of the resources that Xilinx’s System Generator gives you to program your algorithm. Working in such a way, if you’re already familiar with Xilinx’s System Generator, will save you a great amount of time.
Now that we’ve talked about the tools that we provide to program the FPGA, what about the host PC part of the programming? You could, for example, want to do some processing on the FPGA but also use your host computer or your embedded computer to do the rest of the processing. Nutaq gives you for this an API to code to do it in C code or the capability of doing it in GNU Radio open source environment. You could use New Radio on one side to program your algorithm on your host PC and the tools that Nutaq provides you to program the FPGA part of your algorithm. Nutaq gives you the bridge to stream the data from GNU Radio to the FPGA and from the FPGA to the GNU Radio so you can offload the GNU Radio processing on your FPGA.
Some platforms give you only one input channel and one output channel to offload data to the FPGA. Nutaq Core allow you to use multiple channels and to really use the FPGA to really efficiently accelerate the GNU Radio processing.
What I got here is a PicoSDR 4×4. Inside, there are 2 FMC carrier boards plugged into 2 micro TCA connectors on the back plane. The back plane has also the I/Os such as Ethernet and PCI express. On each FMC carrier card, there is a Radio420 radio frontend plugged into an HPC Vita 57 FMC connector. Each Perseus has a Vertex-6 FPGA, 4GB of RAM memory, QDR memory among other components.
The Radio420 RF interface is fully software-defined. It has a tunable frequency ranging from 300MHz to 3.8GHz. It has 14 selectable band pass filter to avoid interference, selectable bass bandwidth ranging from 1.5MHz to 28MHz. It has auto-calibration capabilities, and is shielded for high-quality communication. It has software-defined amplifiers both on the RX chain and on the TX chain. These features makes the Radio420 the perfect radio interface for software-defined radio applications.
Summarizing, the PicoSDR is the perfect platform to develop and deploy your own software-defined radio solution. Comes with PCI express and gigabyte Ethernet interfaces, and all the software that allows you to use them straight out of the box without having to code a single line. It also comes with a powerful model-based design kit that allows you to program in FPGA without having to code any single line of VHDL code. It comes with a GNU Radio interface allowing you to use GNU Radio to program the host PC-side processing that also allows you to save time.
All of Nutaq’s API and C-code is open source in a way that you can reuse it to use in your own software-defined radio solution. All this, I believe, will help you save tremendous amount of time in conception and deployment of your software-defined radio solution. Thank you for watching, this was Emile Papillon from the sales department at Nutaq.