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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tensilica Fusion F1 DSP used for low power NB-IoT modem single chip

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk


Rafael Micro is using the Tensilica Fusion F1 configurable DSP core for its RT580 narrowband (NB) internet of things (IoT) modem IC, which integrates RF radio and includes necessary firmware support. 

The Fusion F1 DSP from Cadence Design Systems allowed Rafael Micro to implement its modem with 36 percent lower power and 45 percent smaller code size compared to a competitive processor they also evaluated. In addition, the Fusion F1 DSP’s flexible architecture makes it easier to update and upgrade to meet future NB-IoT standards.

The Fusion F1 DSP is optimised with specialist instructions for running NB wireless communications standards typically associated with IoT device communications, including protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread and Zigbee using IEEE 802.15.4, SmartGrid 802.15.4g, Wi-Fi 802.11n and 802.11ah, 2G and LTE Category 0 release 12, 13 and 14, and global navigation satellite systems. 

“Rafael Micro’s IoT connectivity business unit focuses on developing modem radio ICs and IP for Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, Sub G (ISM band) and NB-IoT. In order to be competitive in the NB-IoT market, we carefully evaluated the most suitable processing engine for use in our new RT580 modem,” said Ted Sun, CEO of Rafael Micro. “Cadence’s Fusion F1 DSP met our specific requirements for minimum code size under lower operating frequency.”

“Rafael Micro’s RT580 modem will deliver customers the low cost and long battery life demanded by cellular IoT applications,” said Gerard Andrews, product marketing director for Tensilica products at Cadence. “By leveraging the efficient architecture of the Fusion F1 DSP, Rafael Micro can deliver a very flexible solution adaptable to evolving standards while maintaining the very low power consumption required by IoT applications.”

Based on the highly configurable Xtensa processor architecture, the Fusion F1 DSP offers low-energy, high-performance control and signal processing for a variety of IoT and wearable applications, including software-based GPS. 

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