First 5G RAN baseband platform IP for custom chips

First 5G RAN baseband platform IP for custom chips

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Ceva has launched the industry’s first 5G baseband platform IP for ASICs targeting cellular infrastructure in both base station and radios.

The PentaG RAN layer 1 physical layer IP supports distributed units (DU) and Remote Radio Units (RRU), from small cell to Massive Multiple-Input, Multiple Output (mMIMO).

The platform includes vector DSPs, PHY control DSPs, flexible 5G hardware accelerators and other specialized components required for modem processing chains. It delivers up to 10X savings in power and area compared to available FPGA and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software running on mainstream processors.

The heterogeneous baseband compute platform has been designed to significantly reduce the entry barriers for companies wishing to break into the new market opportunities available in Open RAN (O-RAN) equipment. To further reduce design risk and speed up custom ASIC designs, Ceva has co-creation services to help customers develop an entire PHY subsystem and design the complete chip.

The platform is also supported by a new Virtual Platform Simulator (VPS), a unified System-C modeling environment. This allows pre-silicon software development, solution dimensioning, architecture proof-of-concept, and modeling of all platform components. The VPS also includes reference software implementation for main processing chains, as well as beamforming use cases.

Network disaggregation driven by the Open RAN initiative and the drive for mMIMO has gained the attention of silicon vendors worldwide to the cellular infrastructure market opportunity.

Global technology intelligence firm ABI Research forecasts that shipments of 5G outdoor mobile infrastructure equipment, including mMIMO radios, O-RAN radios, small cells and virtual basebands is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17% from 2022 to 2027, surpassing 23 million units annually by 2027. The inability of the current platforms to scale effectively to mMIMO dimensions or support new O-RAN use cases where power and cost are significant factors has disrupted the market and opens the door for new entrants.

“Ceva has been at the leading edge of DSP technology in cellular infrastructure for the last decade, collaborating with leading Tier-1 OEMs to deliver the most advanced DSP architectures deployed in 5G RAN today,” said Guy Keshet, Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile Broadband Business Unit at CEVA.

“Our PentaG-RAN platform was formed out of this extensive experience and brings the next level platform solution to help drive the next generation of 5G chipsets for mMIMO systems and new O-RAN use cases.”

For base stations, the platform supports Macro DU/vDU and Small Cell designs with a scalable compute platform for L1 inline DU/vDU acceleration. This configuration handles the complete acceleration of the main processing chains (data and control), for both symbol-to-bit domains (including FEC) and frequency processing (including FFT and equalization).

Advanced algorithms including channel estimation and MMSE calculation are mapped to the CEVA-XC DSP for optimal processing and power efficiency. It includes a powerful resource pool for accelerating COTS platforms and supports high-PHY and low-PHY 7.2x split partitioning based on Open RAN specifications.

For the radio, it supports Open RAN Low-PHY, Massive MIMO and Beamformer designs with the processing on RRU side, including Beamformer and Beamforming weight calculation. This configuration offers unmatched compute and PPA efficiency, enabling customers with a competitive path for cost reduction and integration options with transceivers, compared to FPGA and other COTS solutions. It supports a range of use-cases from Small Cell and Macro, to Massive MIMO 32TR to 64TR and beyond, for both Sub-6 and mmWave and supports O-RAN 7.2x splits.

PentaG-RAN will be available for general licensing in the fourth quarter of this year. PentaG-RAN customers can also benefit from SoC co-creation services by CEVA’s Intrinsix team to help integrate and support system design and modem development.

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