15 February 2012
Cambridge Consultants unveils ModStar radio architecture for military communications
New software defined radio architecture enables higher RF performance & lower power consumption in smaller form factors for field communications
Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology design and development firm, has introduced a new architecture, ModStar™, for the design of low power and highly efficient software defined radios (SDRs) for military communications. Bringing together Cambridge Consultants’ extensive SDR experience and expertise in design of consumer mobile communications architectures with experience in military and security applications, ModStar can enable smaller, and more flexible high performance software defined radios for operation in the field.
In recent years, defence organisations around the world have invested in a variety of custom radio systems, using many different air interfaces, to perform specific tasks. However, a key challenge for operations today is ensuring that all of these different air interfaces can be interoperable in the field, and that seamless communications can be conducted on any of the legacy systems. SDR can provide exactly this capability, delivering support for multiple air interfaces within a single, flexible implementation.
SDR architectures have been used for military and defence applications, such as the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS). This makes use of the platform's ability to be reprogrammed from a high level description of the new radio waveform to use new communications protocols. However, the SDR challenge is to find a practical implementation that meets a demanding range of requirements that often leads to complex power amplifier, filtering and antenna switching arrangements. For troops on the ground this can mean bulky, heavy radio equipment that can only be moved in a vehicle.
The ModStar architecture has been designed to enable implementation of SDR modules that can link multiple communication platforms in a lightweight device that would be far more portable for troops. Portability is further enhanced by Nujira’s highly efficient Coolteq™ envelope tracking technology for power amplifiers, that can extract double the power output from a given power transistor. Equipment and battery size are minimised by reducing filtering and power consumption requirements, allowing new smaller form factors or wider bandwidths to be achieved.
The ModStar architecture uses an open loop polar modulator with non-continuous time feedback and software pre-distortion. The advantage of this architecture is that the radio design is simplified, with the most significant design challenges being moved into the digital domain where they can be resolved with an integrated and scalable solution.
Tim Phipps, Wireless Homeland Security Business Development Manager, Cambridge Consultants stated: “As well as being more useable for troops, ModStar also delivers higher RF performance compared to alternative solutions - enabling military organisations to maximise their use of existing communications. The polar loop modulator we have incorporated into the ModStar architecture is an extremely robust technique, that has been used in millions of mobile phones, that can deliver exceptional performance with extremely high reliability for military applications.”
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit www.altran.com.
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