Teledyne e2v, a provider of specialist technology for high performance systems and equipment to the North American market; delivering solutions, sub-systems and components, develops Optical Digital Harness (ODH), a prototype optical link technology which might soon replace the existing copper data links in digital radio system designs.
"Our optical data link research marks a moment in time when the radio’s front-end can finally be decoupled from the advanced backend digital data processing of software defined radios (SDRs). In doing so, designers gain implementation flexibility, enhanced digital beam forming capabilities and several extra design freedoms.", says Nicolas Chantier, Strategic Marketing Director of Teledyne e2v.
Till date, two copper-based serial interfaces predominate. They are the industry standard JESD204 link and the license free ESIstream from Teledyne e2v.
Data interfacing in sampled systems requires careful implementation. Perhaps the largest challenge, particularly in highly parallelized, multi-channel (i.e., electronically steered beam) systems, is ensuring that data samples are accurately time aligned. Time alignment ensures signal phase information and thus, the critical spatial information embedded within the received signals is preserved.
Cross-channel synchronization is further complicated by metastability – an inherent, pseudo-random behavior of digital systems. It can be mitigated through careful design.
Despite optical data links powering the modern global broadband backbone, to date there have been few efforts to replace traditional copper in radio front-end design.
Click here to learn more about this Optical Digital Harness (ODH) link technology.