Xilinx and Texas Instruments Collaborate to Develop Energy Efficient 5G Radio Solutions

Xilinx has announced a collaboration with Texas Instruments (TI) to develop scalable and adaptable digital front-end (DFE) solutions to increase the energy efficiency of lower antenna count radios. The solutions leverage Xilinx's adaptable IP to enhance the RF performance and improve the power efficiency of indoor and outdoor radio applications. By combining Xilinx's industry-leading Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC family and adaptable RF IP with the AFE7769 quad-channel RF transceiver from TI, developers can better address the OPEX and CAPEX concerns of large operators and private networks.

The next generation of LTE and 5G small cells will need to address many new and evolving requirements. This is driving the need for new functionality in the radio due to the need to support wider bandwidths and new use cases including enhanced Mobile Broadband, Massive Machine Type Communication, and Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication. Having a radio platform that can adapt and scale to support these new use cases is critical for developers.

Critical to the success of the radio platform is the efficiency and performance of the RF power amplifier (PA). Even for low-power small cell applications, the PA consumes over 50% of the power of a typical next-generation radio and is, therefore, key to driving the OPEX and CAPEX. A scalable and adaptable DFE solution that can address current and future PA efficiency needs are key for the advancement of 5G platforms.

Xilinx's Adaptable Digital RF IP includes specialist functionality of Crest Factor Reduction (CFR) and Digital Pre-distortion (DPD). It is the only solution that can support a wide range of radio bandwidths and carrier configurations. Also, by being tightly integrated with the rest of the PHY processing implemented in the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC device, it can handle the increasingly complex signal dynamics of multi-RAT and 5G waveforms which are challenging for standalone DPD implementations. The PA technology is also evolving quickly to address these new radio requirements with broader adoption of GaN and new architectures. Adapting to these new technologies is key to maximizing the efficiency of the PA.

PA linearity for spectral efficiency and RF power delivery is key to achieving the performance benefits of 5G New Radio systems. Wide-bandwidth transceivers like the AFE7769 help to address higher-order PA nonlinearities and enable more efficient power delivery. With this implementation, designers can address the market needs for higher instantaneous bandwidth and antenna counts to support MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) applications while also offering scalability to meet system cost targets.

To speed development and allow developers to evaluate these solutions Xilinx provides a range of development platforms and tools. To see a demonstration of a small cell 4T4R radio solution that can cover bandwidth requirements up to 200 MHz (for LTE and 5G NR) follow the link below. The demonstration is based on the Xilinx ZCU102 Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC evaluation platform, the AFE7769 evaluation module (AFE7769EVM) from Texas Instruments, and 28 dBm SKY66318-21 PA from Skyworks.


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