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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Configurable radio with Advanced Software Technology


The project undertakes research into the advanced software technologies that will contribute to the technological base for developing reconfigurable radio systems. In particular, the project develops an architecture for configuring down to the physical layer of the wireless equipment under the control of higher level configuration management and procedures.

The prime objective is to research new technologies, and build upon existing/emerging technologies, which contribute to a technology base for laying foundations for intelligent and adaptable configuration of the physical layer in the wireless equipment.
An architecture for a radio configuration system is proposed, and the secondary objectives of this project are to research into enabling technologies for each section of the stack of the configuration system.
A validation platform will be built. The tertaary aims of the project are to validate the research and enabling technologies, and to assess the operation of the reconfiguration technology on the delivery of selected user services
Additional objectives include the dissemination of the outcomes of the project to other interested parties, and participation in the European standardisation processes to promote the project's configuration technology for use on emerging radio systems.

Work description:
The project begins with initial studies on the architecture of the configuration system, then moves onto research into the enabling technologies for each sub-layer of the configuration system, before concluding with the results from the validation & assessment of the technologies. The project liaison activities occur throughout the duration of the project.
The initial activities reviews the specifications of the emerging radio standards, the achievements of past framework projects and the progress in related technologies, so as to prepare the way for the research phase of the project. This initial phase will also select the radio parameters, postulate the test scenarios and generate the high-level requirement specifications for the research and validation phases.
The research activities will form the majority of the project. The configuration stack is split into 3 major layers (each with 2 sub-layers), and workpackages will be executed in parallel; to research into enabling technology for the sub-layes.
Each workpackage will produce specifications, simulations and implementation of their related topics, ready to be assessed in the validation phase.
The validation activities develop the technology for the validation platform and evaluates the operation of the integrated configuration system. The final phase also includes the assessment of the configuration system on the delivery of user services under varying environmental conditions and service request conditions. The project liaison activities include project management, participation in standardisation committees and dissemination of project's results. These activities interact with the main stream of work throughout the entire duration of the project.

Month 4: Architecture of configuration system refined; high-level requirement specifications produced
Month 28: Technologies conceived & tested for each sub-layer of the configuration stack and for RF front-end of platform
Month 30: Configuration system integrated onto test platform
Month 33: Enabling technology validated; and operation of system assessed on the delivery of user services
There is no doubt that network flexibility in the form of software re-configurability is an essential factor, in order to achieve ambitious goals of the mobile communications industrybeyond the Third Generation. For that matter, the CAST Project has achieved major results in demonstrating key concepts & architectures for generic network re-configurability, which we believe will have significant impact in aiding the design & implementation of the future mobile communication systems. The CAST Project has produced & demonstrated a novel concept in intelligent reconfiguration of mobile communication systems, in which every layer of the network has local components of a distributed controller, modelled on the way that organic entities make intelligent decisions based on processing of historic information. This Project demonstrated a possible solution to the intelligent evolution of mobile systems using a Complex Organic Distributed Architecture (CODA), which supports intelligent reconfiguration of all system components. A key feature of this architecture is the deployment of multiple warehouses. The warehouses store data in a variety of ways depending on the type of intelligence required. In demonstrating the CAST proposed system, we have achieved significant results in various areas, which can be all regarded as valuable design aids for developing & implementing the future software reconfigurable mobile communication systems.

In particular the following advancements have been made: a) Configuration discovery analysis were made for an ideal, fully re-configurable network terminal that can interoperate with any operator's network and any network type. The analysis identified potential problems with re -configurable networking, in terms of disruption caused to a network service by a reconfiguration procedure that requires a pause in communication. b) Network Management functions of Reconfiguration Management and Fault Management were studied within a compositional framework according to a layered architecture consisting of the following five layers: User Layer (integrated with the Mobile Station's Local Network Manager) Mobile Station Layer Base Station Layer Global Management Layer (located in the Mobile Switching Centre) Operations Layer (addressing the operator's viewpoint; usually the outgoing channel to Operations Support Systems) The study resulted in the reduced application of available ITU-T Standards to the JAVA-oriented design of a complex object model suited for the Network Management of Software Radio. c) CAST has achieved significant results in the field of resource management. It identified the various aspects that should be taken into account during mobile base station and mobile terminal reconfiguration. Various resource management algorithms and an abstract hardware description model were developed & successfully used in the demonstrator. The Resource Controller is capable of dynamically adjusting the configuration of the mobile base station to the changing user demands. d) CAST project has designed, constructed & demonstrated a considerable amount of reconfigurable hardware; using DSP, FPGA & RF technologies. Primary consideration being the ability to reconfigure processing resources quickly. This is essential for supporting functionality such as vertical handover and in -call reconfigurations. New devices such as the Xilinx Virtex FPGA & Analog Devices TigerSHARC DSP processor were designed with partial reconfigurability. Our novel approach has provided a new mechanism for the partitioning and management of baseband resources for partial reconfiguration. The Physical Layer Controller (PLC) has been developed to provide a forward thinking approach to the control of current and future combinations of hardware. Function Objects were implemented on different type of flexible devices where each device is considered as Device Object. The concepts of the PLC have been patented.

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