17th December 2002

Imagination Technologies’ Ensigma Division Announces Universal Communications Coprocessor Core

Novel Programmable Coprocessor Enables Multi-standard Communications Platform


Imagination Technologies [LSE:IMG], a leader in system on chip IP, today announces the Universal Communications Coprocessor (UCC), a flexible and programmable communication processing unit designed for use in high performance multi-standard broadcast and wireless devices.

The Ensigma UCC is designed to perform all pre-processing, modulation/coding and error recovery functions for broadcast receivers or wireless communication baseband processing. UCC is a licensable hardware and software IP platform whose programmability enables support for a wide range of digital transmission standards including digital radio, digital TV, analogue TV, WLAN and 3G. It is available as a family of licensable IP Cores from Ensigma, a division of Imagination Technologies. The UCC technology complements Imagination Technologies’ multithreaded META processor and PowerVR graphics and video IP cores, which together offer the most comprehensive SoC-ready IP range for modern applications. The Ensigma UCC can be used alongside META or other processors in broadcast and communication targeted applications.

UCC licensees will benefit from accelerated time to market for system solutions, as UCC enables highly integrated SoCs for the lowest development and end-system cost as well as providing excellent silicon area and power efficiency. The first implementation of UCC is already used for DAB demodulation in Frontier Silicon’s Chorus chip (currently in production). The latest version of UCC, capable of supporting a range of TV Broadcast and wireless LAN standards, is used in Frontier Silicon’s recently announced Logie TV chip.

The conventional approach to designing a high-speed broadcast receiver or wireless communications baseband is to use dedicated hardware to achieve the required real-time signal processing functions. The Ensigma UCC provides a highly programmable platform for true ‘software radio’ implementations, with the signal processing capacity for the most demanding of digital communications and receiver standards.

Says Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination Technologies: “”UCC licensees will be able to develop multi-standard hardware devices capable of operation across many important standards, and to add performance enhancement by software upgrade for new standards as they become available. And by using a multifunctional and software configurable device our customers will benefit from economies of scale across multiple markets and avoid the prohibitive SoC mask charges that would be involved in the creation of separate SoCs for each of UCC’s functions.””

About Ensigma UCC Technology
The UCC performs all the required demodulation processing from a digitised IF input to error-corrected data output. For example, the UCC can demodulate a DVB-T signal at any data rate and in any mode.

The Ensigma UCC is implemented as three units, each with its own dedicated signal processing tasks. The Signal Conditioning Processor (SCP) performs IF to baseband conversion. The Modulation & Coding Processor (MCP) performs data modulation and demodulation. The MCP is a very flexible processor, designed for the complex operations required in high-speed data demodulation. The output from the MCP is a stream of soft decisions suitable for error correction. The Error Correction Processor (ECP) operates on the soft decisions generated by the MCP, generating error corrected data for decoding by the host processor.

The host processor is required to perform a minimal set of operations in support of the UCC. By off-loading the onerous signal processing tasks associated with broadcast and communications baseband processing from the host processor, the UCC provides a true software radio platform. Host intervention is minimised by careful design of the interfaces between components. For a broadcast receiver application such as DVB-T, the host processor need only perform the tasks of hardware initialisation, and an exchange of messages with the MCP every few milliseconds. The low host burden allows the UCC to work with a wide range of host processors.

The UCC is programmable and can be customised to accommodate a range of digital transmission standards, including: DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C, Eureka-147 DAB, HD Radio (formerly IBOC), DRM, Analogue TV, 802.11a/b/g and HiperLAN2.

The combination of the SCP, MCP and ECP provides a unique platform for the implementation of many of these standards in one hardware block.


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