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Technical Topics => Equipment => Topic started by: Fansome on March 07, 2015, 2312 UTC

Title: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip
Post by: Fansome on March 07, 2015, 2312 UTC
Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 11:00:05 -0500
From: Ed Cummings <bernies@panix.com>
To: swlfest <swlfest@hard-core-dx.com>
Subject: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip

This new technology seems to have promise for
leading to better, smaller, and cheaper radios.
-Ed Cummings
Cambridge Consultants demonstrates a world first in radio design
Technology innovation firm Cambridge Consultants
has successfully completed initial trials of the
world?s first fully digital radio transmitter ? a
turning point in wireless design and a real
enabler for the ?Internet of Things? (IoT) and 5G technology.
It?s a radio built purely from computing power,
using the same familiar digital technology you?d
find in a computer microprocessor in your home or office.
Unlike ?software-defined radio? (SDR), it?s not a
mixture of analogue and digital components ? for
the first time, the radio is completely digital,
which can enable new ways of using spectrum
intelligently. The innovation is set to be hugely
disruptive, like a previous Cambridge Consultants
breakthrough ? the development of the first
single-chip Bluetooth radio, which led to the
spinout of the global short-range wireless and audiovisual giant CSR.
The latest breakthrough ? codenamed Pizzicato ?
unlocks the potential of the IoT. It  opens the
door to a new dynamic way in which the predicted
100 billion IoT devices can operate together in a
crowded radio spectrum. And it will enable the
creation of 5G systems, with multiple radios and antennas.
The Pizzicato digital radio transmitter consists
of an integrated circuit outputting a single
stream of bits, and an antenna ? with no
conventional radio parts or digital-to-analogue
converter. Patented algorithms perform the
necessary ultra-fast computations in real time,
making it possible for standard digital
technology to generate high-frequency radio signals directly.
?Our first trial of the technology has created 14
simultaneous cellular base station signals,? said
Monty Barlow, director of wireless technology at
Cambridge Consultants. ?But it is the potential
which is so exciting. Like mainstream
microprocessing, a Pizzicato-based radio would
directly benefit from Moore?s Law ? shrinking in
cost, size and power consumption with each new
generation of silicon fabrication.
?If we?re going to get high-speed broadband to
every mobile phone in the world, we?ll need lots
of tiny, high-performance radios in those phones.
The radios will be squashed together in a way
that analogue just doesn?t tolerate. Whereas a
Pizzicato-like digital radio can follow Moore?s
Law to smaller size and lower power consumption.
?It could also be programmed to generate almost
any combination of signals at any carrier
frequencies, nimbly adapting its behaviour in a
way that is impossible in conventional radios. It
is early days for this technology but we believe
radio design has reached a turning point.?
In recent decades, wireless design teams such as
Cambridge Consultants have employed extensive
digital techniques in radios ? and such SDRs have
provided a tenfold improvement in the data rate
that can be squeezed into a radio channel. But a
more dramatic improvement is needed to cope with
the growth in mobile broadband and the IoT.
Good radio spectrum is a scarce resource ? only
low frequencies (1GHz or lower) propagate well
over distance or through walls, so they are in
great demand. Greater efficiency requires the use
of dynamic or ?cognitive wireless? techniques to
sense the radio environment and switch parameters
on the fly. This could give access to more of the
estimated 90% of the allocated spectrum which is not in use at any one time.
Making use of the higher carrier frequencies of
10GHz and beyond, however, will require
techniques such as meshing and beamforming to
circumvent the inherently poor range ? and the
analogue parts of radios are becoming an increasing bottleneck.
?Crowding 50 analogue radios together on one
chip, switching their operational parameters
every few microseconds and expecting them to work
at 60GHz is an analogue designer?s nightmare,?
said Barlow. ?With Pizzicato, we have created a
glimpse of future disruptive technology ? a radio
built purely from computing power.?
Cambridge Consultants has one of the world?s
largest independent wireless development teams,
with more than 120 experts working in areas
ranging from ultra-low-power short-range wireless
connectivity to global satellite communication.
During its 55-year history, the company has
helped clients develop technology ranging from
the world?s first wireless implanted pacing
system to the ground-to-air radio system
controlling air traffic over the majority of the planet.
Cambridge Consultants is demonstrating Pizzicato
at<http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/> Mobile
World Congress in Barcelona, March 2-5, stand 7B21 in Hall 7.
Title: Re: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip
Post by: RCCI on March 09, 2015, 0031 UTC
Interesting article....thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip
Post by: Fansome on March 09, 2015, 0120 UTC
The big problem with this is that the knobs are probably too small to even see, let alone turn.
Title: Re: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip
Post by: RCCI on March 10, 2015, 1717 UTC
Out of curiosity, what was the "smallest" sortwave receiver ever made for the public?
Title: Re: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip
Post by: Stretchyman on October 28, 2015, 1411 UTC
Bit of an old post but to answer the final question;

Si4734 (and family) used in ALL the TECSUN et al radios BTW.

3x3mm is small enough!
Title: Re: [Swlfest] World?s first all-digital radio on a chip
Post by: BoomboxDX on October 30, 2015, 1241 UTC
RE: 'smallest SW radio ever made':

Most of the Tecsun SW radios popular with 'ultralight' radio people are very small. I think the qualification for what they think makes a radio an "ultralight" is 20 square inches or less.

There were some analog SW radios made by Sangean in the 1990's that were small enough to be considered "ultralight" radios today.

Which one of them all would be considered the smallest SW radio ever made, I have no idea.