RTLinuxPro Real-time Linux Powers Mission-Critical Software-Defined Radio

2/13/2006 - SDC Systems have announced that RTLinuxPro is being used in several advanced wireless communication system products - including two described here by Harris and BBN. Projects at these companies address the challenges of ad hoc networking, mobility, and software defined radios that can select from multiple wavebands and data encodings and operate in the harshest, most demanding environments.

Although many industry experts have always had concerns about the performance of Linux in real-time applications, there is no doubt that Linux is proving that it can deliver the kind of performance real-time projects require.

At Harris GCSD, engineers are using FSMLabs RTLinuxPro on two production versions of their Highband Network Waveform and mobile ad hoc radio. The first version runs on a single-board Intel Pentium system, and the follow-on operates on dual and quad PowerPC architecture configurations. "This radio technology has been through highly successful demonstration and operational test evaluation at customer sites," notes Tim Kaiser, WIN-T Software IPT Lead at Harris Systems. "It has been enthusiastically perceived as the answer to tactical radio communications." The RTLinux real-time kernel and threading capability provide deterministic microsecond granularity, critical to software-based waveform generation. "FSMLabs product has been a solid platform to develop and field within our product radio. Their support of the operating system has been top notch," added Kaiser. RTLinux maintains world-wide GPS based time synchronization at a 625 micro-second period on the networked devices.

BBN, the company that originally developed the Internet, is also working on ad hoc wireless networks with particular attention to antennae pointing and power-saving. "At BBN we have been using FSMLabs RTLinuxPro for many years for our wireless MAC protocol efforts," comments Jason Redi, Director, R&D of Mobile Networking at BBN. "RTLinux provides rock-solid thread switching times and reliability that we need to build high performance software for next-generation wireless networking. When combined with the familiar Linux environment and tools, we have a hard-real time kernel that is exactly right for building high speed wireless protocols."

Designers of mission-critical wireless applications look to RTLinux for its ability to support deterministic responsiveness in Linux and BSD-based COTS applications. RTLinux provides the "best of both worlds": hard real-time and open, standards-based computing. "Military communications applications like the army's WIN-T (Warfighter Informational Network-Tactical) " said Victor Yodaiken, president and CEO of FSMLabs. "and emerging civilian fixed-wireless, WiMax, UWB implementations benefit from RTLinux performance and reliability."

A white paper about RTLinux and its wireless capabilities is available.

About FSMLabs
FSMLabs provides hard real-time solutions designed for reliability and simplicity of operation, that target mission-critical applications. FSMLabs is privately held, with headquarters in New Mexico and world-wide operations. FSMLabs products include RTLinux, RTCore BSD, VxIT legacy software compatibility layer, Lnet real-time networking, PSDD protected memory real-time and ControlsKit XML/RPC interface builder. For more information, send an email.

RTLinux, RTCore, and FSMLabs are registered trademarks and VxIT, Lnet, and ControlsKit are trademarks of Finite State Machine Labs Inc. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

FSM labs Relatime Linux Products are distributed in Europe by SDC Systems.

About SDC Systems
SDC Systems Limited is a leading European distributor of embedded development software, tools and hardware. Focused on innovative and leading edge technology, SDC strives to provide "technology that makes a difference", technology that will positively impact the development process and the quality and functionality of the final product. With many years' experience and talented engineering support, SDC Systems work closely with their clients to provide an important source of embedded expertise and products.

For more information on the FSM Labs Linux products, send an e-mail

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