Altair’s O²P SDR Processor at the Heart of Harris’ New LTE Device

By Dean ~ September 29th, 2011. Filed under: SDR & SCA.
Picture of the Harris MBC-100 Mobile Subscriber Device

The Harris MBC-100
Credit: Urgentcomm

I’m fascinated by how necessary, and ubiquitous, Internet access has become.  In the latest clear demonstration of this trend, we have the Harris MBC-100 “Mobile Subscriber Device.”  This nifty little bit of gear provides first responders with connectivity over 700 MHz LTE networks, all in a ruggedized enclosure.  According to the company’s press material, the device:

“… delivers up to 18 Mbps of service to LTE network subscribers for high-bandwidth applications. It also delivers 128-bit encryption for secure voice and data communication while utilizing industry-standard 3GPP Release 8 telecommunications requirements for 700 MHz LTE networks. These requirements mean that the MBC-100 is capable of advanced LTE modulations including 2×2 Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO) that allows the device to boost network performance by utilizing two antennas for the transmitter and receiver.”

Of course, the really interesting question is how they’re doing it.  For that, we turn to Altair Semiconductor, self-proclaimed as “the world’s leading developer of ultra-low power, small footprint and high performance 4G LTE chipsets.”  These chipsets are built around Altair’s O²P™ Software Defined Radio (SDR) processor:

“O²P is a completely new architectural approach to solving the flexibility/performance/power paradigm.  Designed and optimized from its atomic level up to the switching fabric to process 4G/OFDM signals, the O²P processor is capable of performing more than 20 GIGA MACS (Multiply Accumulate per Second) per second operations while consuming a fraction of the power of any communications-optimized DSP in the market.  Harnessing such extreme processing capabilities enables the O²P SDR to cope with not only 4G processing but also with legacy 2G/3.5G technologies. The O²P’s architecture is software defined to support various combinations of 2G/3.5G standards (e.g. LTE in conjunction with EDGE/HSPA+/EVDO) simultaneously, implementing a true roaming-capable, multimode “world” solution.”

We’ve all heard horror stories about the power budgets required to handle LTE.  Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the relatively limited number of handsets supporting LTE is largely due to battery life issues.  It sounds like the folks at Altair Semiconductor have overcome these challenges with a solution that meets Harris’ requirements.  I expect that we’ll be hearing a lot more from Altair in the SDR future!

Picture of the Altair "FourGee" 3100/6200 chipset

Altair "FourGee" 3100/6200 chipset
Image Credit: Altair Smiconductor

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