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Soft radio middleware supports Linux

Oct 22, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Wind River and PrismTech announced a jointly developed “Spectra SDR” software-defined radio (SDR) middleware platform for both military and public sectors, compatible with Wind River's Linux and VxWorks distributions. Meanwhile, Wind River launched a blog feature, starting with President Ken Klein explaining how Wind River is a “firewalled subsidiary” of Intel, committed to independence.

The PrismTech SDR platform is initially targeted at Wind Rivers' VxWorks 6 real-time operating system (RTOS), but Wind River Linux can also be used, says the Intel subsidiary. Either platform is combined with PrismTech's Spectra SDR Operating Environment (Spectra OE) middleware, which includes a small form factor core framework and embedded ORB (object request broker) middleware, according to the companies. The Wind River/PrizmTech platform is said to include advanced tooling for modeling, code-generation, and compliance validation.

PrismTech's Spectra OE architecture

The combined SDR solution will allow developers of software-defined radios to use commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) components that adhere to Software Communication Architecture (SCA) software radio standards, says Wind River. The SCA standards are said to be mandated by the U.S. Department of Defense for Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) and validated by the JTRS Test and Evaluation Laboratory (JTEL).

SDR technology can process wireless communications tasks within software, offering easier reprogramming and reduced hardware expenditures in a world of quickly multiplying and changing wireless standards. The technology caught on first with cell phone vendors looking for an affordable path to multi-protocol support, and it's increasingly being used in cellular base stations, as well.

PrismTech has benchmarked the VxWorks-based SDR version on multiple processors from Freescale and Intel, and has measured round-trip times of less than 10 seconds to power up, initialize the platform, load waveform components, unload waveform components, and shut down the radio, says Wind River. The Wind River Linux version is said to offer "comparable performance."

Additional features of the combined Wind River and PrismTech SDR solution are said to include:

  • SCA AEP 2.2.2 conformant library for rapid component integration
  • Spectra CX advanced SDR SCA waveform and development tool supporting model-driven engineering
  • C and C++ language support for optimized, portable radio software development
  • Spectra e*ORB optimized CORBA library
  • Wind River Advanced Network Technology stack supporting both VxWorks and Wind River Linux
  • VxWorks 6 and Wind River Linux OS platforms available on a wide range of COTS boards
  • Wind River Workbench Eclipse-based development environment

Stated Rob Hoffman, GM, Aerospace and Defense, Wind River, "This collaboration will help the shift from hardware-centric, proprietary radios, to software-controlled, reprogrammable, standards-based radios that offer maximum flexibility and value."

Stated Keith Steele, CEO, PrismTech, "As well as superior performance, PrismTech's Spectra product line also includes tooling to validate SCA compliance at both the architectural and unit test level, and generate SCA compliant artifacts."

Wind River blog debuts

Wind River debuted a new blog page this week, featuring an initial message from Ken Klein, former CEO and now President of Wind River. The blog marks the 90-day anniversary of Wind River's acquisition by Intel this summer. The blog summarizes several recent partnerships the Linux OS and tools subsidiary has pursued since the acquisition, detailing support announcements or collaborations with chipmakers including NEC, MIPS, Freescale, RMI, and Cavium.

Klein highlights the deals as proof of its continuing support for multiple platforms beyond Intel's x86. According to Klein, Intel understands that "Wind River must operate as a 'firewalled' subsidiary and do business with its competitors." Similar thoughts were shared with LinuxDevices last week in an interview with Vincent Rerolle, senior VP and GM of the Linux product division.


The Wind River and PrismTech SDR solution is immediately available to customers worldwide. More information about PrismTech's Spectra OE should be available here.

Ken Klein's Wind River blog may be found here.

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