A review of Pentek’s GateFlow FPGA Design Resources is followed by a discussion of features and benefits of FPGA-based DDCs. When compared on a size/power/cost per channel basis, narrowband, high-channel-count DDC cores can be very efficiently implemented in FPGAs. Implementation of wideband DDCs consumes many more FPGA DSP and logic resources. As a result, the number of channels that can be fit into a single FPGA is limited. Even with less cost-effective wideband DDCs, the custom IP approach can usually provide the only viable solution when a specific performance characteristic is required.
One of the fundamental concepts of SDR (Software-Defined Radio) is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with ASIC-based solutions. Pentek SDR products that utilize FPGA technology and applications based on such products are also presented. Choosing the best FPGA vendor often hinges heavily on the quality of the design tools available to support the parts.