TTPCom Creates Complete Cellular Modem Design on Single Processor

1/22/2004 - TTPCom Ltd. (LSE: TTC), the world’s leading independent supplier of technology for digital wireless communications, announces the launch of a cellular modem reference design implemented on a single processor. Integration of the complete modem, from protocol stack to RF drivers, on one processor, frees up the second processor completely for hosting applications or open operating systems. This approach has significant benefits for the evolution of mobile devices, including reduced time to market for modem, application and handset developments; a lower bill of material; smaller product size and the ability to add wireless capability to a much wider range of devices.

Traditionally, cellular modem chips have been designed around two separate processors; a Microcontroller Unit (MCU) in which protocol and application software co-exist, and a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for the signal processing functions. However, with the recent development of more powerful processor cores TTPCom has added an option to its proven Cellular Baseband Engine (CBE) that enables the entire cellular modem to run on the DSP. The consequent separation of the modem and application environments simplifies handset design, enables much faster integration of the sophisticated services that are a feature of the modern mobile device, and removes bottlenecks by enabling the modem and the applications environments to evolve separately.

Julian Hildersley, Managing Director of TTPCom’s Silicon Business Unit commented: “The entire wireless industry stands to benefit from the development of a single processor modem: for semiconductor vendors the simplified architecture shortens modem time to market; for handset manufacturers easier integration of new applications enables them to launch new products faster; the network operators benefit from the early deployment of new revenue-generating services and the user will gain from a wider choice of exciting devices". He added, “In future we’ll see the modem and applications roadmaps proceeding in parallel but at different rates. This is already a key issue for both silicon and handset developers and is set to become more significant as handset functionality evolves, particularly with the importance of open operating systems".

Frazer Bennett, Sales Director, Silicon Business Unit, commented, “TTPCom has been providing silicon developers with wireless hardware and software IP for more than a decade. Our single processor modem builds on this experience – we have rethought the modem architecture and the result is a design that will improve our customers’ products considerably. The design is already being built into our customers’ chips today".

Demonstration at 3GSM World Congress with StarCore implementation TTPCom will be demonstrating its single processor reference implementation at 3GSM World Congress 2004 in Cannes. TTPCom has worked closely with StarCore LLC during this project to implement CBE onto StarCore’s SC1400 core to provide a fully functional demonstration.

“We are pleased that TTPCom selected StarCore technology for their reference design", said Alex Bedarida, VP Marketing and Sales, StarCore LLC. “This is an eminent example of how software developers are taking advantage of the superior code density and processing efficiency of our SC1200 and SC1400 processor cores to combine control and signal processing functions in one low-cost processor. Furthermore, clever use of the C compiler enables them to promptly respond to customer needs and market changes. TTPCom’s choice validates StarCore’s leadership in the single-core wireless modem space".

TTPCom's Cellular Baseband Engine (CBE) is a scalable and portable cellular modem design, with an aggressive roadmap meeting the future needs of the cellular handset market. Designed to be processor independent, the latest version of CBE; CBE 2000 allows any combination of GSM, GPRS, E-GPRS and W-CDMA to be deployed in an optimal way on any of the leading DSP and MCU processor cores available today.

The CBE 2000 architecture supports implementation on both dual and single processor modem configurations, whilst also enabling applications and modem functionality to be cleanly separated. The modular design approach means that even the device management and audio functions, including speech codecs, can be executed either directly within the modem or on a separate applications processor.

In addition to freeing up the second processor for full use by applications, integrating the complete modem functionality on one processor allows the use of a single unified memory system, which in turn provides a saving in silicon overhead when compared with more traditional modem designs.

The fully featured CBE 2000 platform provides all the necessary infrastructure for a cellular modem, together with several optional features, including: Advanced ciphering (A5/3 & GEA3) support, Enhanced handset IMEI and SIMLock security and Digital radio interface.

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