Low power and high performance ruggedized platforms are not only made possible by advances in technology but also by the smart use of industry standards. The DoD benefits greatly from the associated costs and time savings.
By Pierrick Vulliez, 4DSP | February 2016
The increasing demand for embedded computing systems to power intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications as well as Electronic Warfare (EW) solutions is driving the need for the rapid prototyping and deployment of reconfigurable COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) hardware platforms that combine high performance and flexibility. There are a number of ways of implementing advanced solutions to serve the needs of airborne ISR and EW processing applications but manufacturers are required to develop lighter and more compact solutions that deliver an increased level of performance while constrained by Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) profiles. It is therefore essential that the embedded sensor processing subsystems that must contend with the greatly increased volumes of data being collected by these sensors take advantage of both the parallel computing resources offered by low-power and efficient FPGAs and the capabilities of modern ADCs packaged in small form factors such as the FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC – VITA 57.1). When combined with high-performance wideband or GHz-capable ADCs, FPGAs are essential to digitizing the analog input from a sensor and then processing the acquired data stream.
Figure 1: The CESCC820 (Compact Embedded System) is a ruggedized, small form factor embedded system designed to provide a complete and generic processing platform for data acquisition, signal processing, and communication.
A flexible FPGA-based architecture in a compact size such as the 4DSP CESCC820 (VITA 75) can be combined with the latest in wideband ADCs and high-speed, high-resolution DACs and 10Gb Ethernet digital communication on FPGA Mezzanine Cards ( FMC – VITA 57). The CESCC820 is a ruggedized, small form factor embedded system designed to provide a complete and generic processing platform for data acquisition, signal processing, and communication. With a low power Intel CPU and a high performance Xilinx Ultrascale FPGA, the CESCC820 flexibility is greatly enhanced by the ability to select I/O functionality from a wide range of FMCs. They provide a standard form factor and modular interface to the FPGA and offer the best I/O approach outside of a monolithic solution by leveraging a consistent FPGA and CPU baseline system architecture. FMCs can be selected as needed to build an ultra-high-speed analog transceiver to handle both low-latency signal processing in either air or conduction-cooled configurations while also handling data movement functions. Such a configuration offers a high level of flexibility, as subsystems can be simply upgraded over time with new technology as it becomes available. The 4DSP FMC product line, with its wide range of digital and analog I/O, enable system designers to develop systems in the lab and qualify them swiftly for field use. The ability to digitize signals in the multi-Gigahertz range, perform real-time Digital Signal Processing using Ultrascale FPGAs and communicate digitally at High Speed using standard protocols provides users with a tactical advantage for the most demanding applications.
Figure 2: The FMC432 is a dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T) FPGA Mezzanine Card with two RJ45 connectors available on the front panel.