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nrodriguez
Visitor
Visitor
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Registered: ‎03-19-2010

FPGA or DSP based communication system?

Hi, I am getting started in the world of FPGA or DSP system design. I am trying to build a full duplex data transceiver using the minimum number of analog blocks (only filters, mixer and amplifiers will be external to the FPGA or DSP core). The data will be provided by a computer through an Ethernet port. My first question is if I should start looking for a DSP or FPGA based solution as a first approach for my system. And as I guess that doing everything from scratch will take forever I suppose that there must be already IP cores developed for FPGAs that can be integrated into my system so my second question is where can I get basic blocks that I can combine to build the system? (Ethernet port management, codification, modulation, encryption, ...)  I’m writing this to find some orientation to get started in the right direction. Thank you very much in advance for your support.
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6 Replies
john.h
Explorer
Explorer
5,268 Views
Registered: ‎02-27-2010

The first question I'd ponder is what kind of data rates do you need in and out of your system?

 

If you can connect your DACs and ADCs seamlessly to a DSP, you might have a better experience bringing up that system from scratch because the tools are oriented heavily toward DSP development.  FPGAs have DSP tools available to them but are probably less friendly for someone with a single purpose of bringing up a lower speed data link.

 

If your data rates are high, the DSP may fall short in connectivity or you may need to go to a more costly DSP to achieve the throughput.

 

FPGAs are superb for flexibility and throughput with lower cost devices like the Spartan-3ADSP or higher performance devices like the DSP-rich Virtex familes (5 and 6 being most recent) providing MAC units that are clean to integrate with a high speed processing chain.

 

Since I've been deep into a job search over the last many months, I've noticed the most popular approach for FPGA wireless development appears to be using the MATLAB tool to simulate and prototype the signal chain.  Are you well versed in MATLAB?  My understanding is that there's good integration between MATLAB and the Xilinx design flow, handling some of the IP directly.

 

____________

 

 

I'd love to hear from MATLAB/FPGA implementors to hear their experience with the ease and integration.

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nrodriguez
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Visitor
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Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Thank you for your answer. 

The data rate of my application is 15Mbps... so would you consider it to be low data rate that makes a DSP implementation more adequate? 

I did not know about the connection between Matlab and Xilinx design flow. I have worked with Matlab some years ago and I think I can familiarize myself again with it. So if it can be synthesized into an FPGA looks like a way to go that is worthwhile to explore

 

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john.h
Explorer
Explorer
5,258 Views
Registered: ‎02-27-2010

How much processing do you need to do on the data?

 

What ADC and DAC rate do you need to support your 15Mb/s rate?

 

Since I recall you want a 1-chip solution, can you hook up your DAC and ADC without having to add an FPGA?

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eilert
Teacher
Teacher
5,254 Views
Registered: ‎08-14-2007

Hi,

sounds like you are trying to do something in the field of "software defined radio" or at least some wireless transmission system.

Maybe this is interesting for you:

http://gnuradio.org/redmine/wiki/gnuradio

 

Of course there are IP-Cores and supporting tools for DSP in FPGAs.

But with wat you got in mind you need the full set of Xilinx tools (and 3rd-Party support).

ISE, EDK and System Generator DSP as well as Matlab Simulink and Modelsim.

Big deal, for just a start.

 

Furthermore, even if you have the building blocks, the implementation of the algorithms and the supporting system architecture is still up to you.

With a DSP you might have some working hardware from the beginning, but will it meet the requirements of speed and power?

 

Have a nice synthesis

  Eilert

 

 

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ywu
Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
5,248 Views
Registered: ‎11-28-2007

Yes, the piece that connects Matlab and Xilinx implementation tools is called "System Generator". Please take a look at this thread: http://forums.xilinx.com/xlnx/board/message?board.id=DSPTOOL&thread.id=2080 ,which has pointers to things that point you to the right direction.


nrodriguez wrote:

Thank you for your answer. 

The data rate of my application is 15Mbps... so would you consider it to be low data rate that makes a DSP implementation more adequate? 

I did not know about the connection between Matlab and Xilinx design flow. I have worked with Matlab some years ago and I think I can familiarize myself again with it. So if it can be synthesized into an FPGA looks like a way to go that is worthwhile to explore

 


 

 

Message Edited by jimwu on 03-19-2010 08:46 AM
Cheers,
Jim
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nrodriguez
Visitor
Visitor
5,236 Views
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Hi Eilert,

As you suggested I have checked the gnuradio webpage and found it very interesting for my application. It is very versatile system but it seems that it has to be connected to a PC to do modulation and encryption. Do you know if there is another module similar to the USRP but that includes not only the FPGA but also a programmable processor?

Thank you very much,

         Nuria

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