RadioScape Makes Breakthrough in Multi-Standard RF for Digital Radio

RadioScape has used its world-class RF and software expertise to create the first, software-controlled, single chip RF front end that can handle six frequency bands — Band III and L-Band for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), medium wave, long wave and short wave for AM and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), and Band II for FM. The RF chip combines with a standard DSP chip that runs RadioScape’s baseband digital radio software and also controls the RF IC to form a two chip solution, which dramatically reduces the power consumption and size of modules compared with current generation solutions.

“This new RF IC is a breakthrough technology for RadioScape that will revolutionise multi-standard, multi-band digital radio,” said John Hall, RadioScape’s CEO. “There is nothing like it in the market and is the result of a major initiative that we started over two years ago to create a technology platform for our next generation consumer radios. The objective was to create a highly flexible RF device that would complement our software-defined radio approach, timed to coincide with the emerging DRM market, and we have done that.”

Until now, the only way to create a comparable multi-band digital radio was to create independent RF front ends for each of the different frequency bands – each consuming power and adding to the bulk of the product. “Our unique partitioning of the radio system allows us maximum re-use of the digital components by loading only the appropriate baseband stack into the DSP as and when required.” explained Dave Hawkins, VP of Business Development at RadioScape. “We have used the same approach in our RF IC, which reuses internal functionality to best suit the frequency band and standard required at the time. Dynamic configuration of the RF path on the RF IC is controlled by the DSP using software algorithms to ensure the optimisation of both performance and power consumption. The result is a multi-frequency RF device that requires less than half the power used by the equivalent circuits in our current generation of multi-standard modules.”

Available only in a RadioScape module offering, the RF IC will be used to create a new range of modules that maintain the size and pin configurations of existing modules to enable manufacturers to quickly take advantage of this latest RadioScape innovation and benefit from the lower power consumption that it offers. RadioScape’s RS200 family provide highly optimised DAB and FM reception whilst the RS500 family provides additional features and functionality, such as fully integrated Digital Radio Mondiale and AM reception, in addition to DAB and FM. Full details of the new RF IC-enhanced modules will be available shortly along with samples in June.

Highly integrated, multi-band RF solution
This is the first time that a single, front end RF chip has been implemented to handle these six, very different, frequency bands. While this chip uses both zero-IF and super-heterodyne methods to achieve the stringent requirements of the variety of standards and frequencies, RadioScape’s pioneering software-controlled approach enables a significant part of the implementation to use common circuitry. A major benefit of this challenging approach is the dramatic reduction of the external component count by over 150 items relative to equivalent designs which implement these standards. The high level of integration of the chip enables the board real estate for the front end RF to be reduced from 30 sq cms (covering both sides of the board) to only 9 sq cms on a single-sided board design for all standards and even smaller if a subset of standards and frequency bands is required.

About RadioScape
RadioScape(R) Ltd. is the world’s only developer of end-to-end digital audio broadcasting solutions giving RadioScape unmatched systems knowledge and enabling it to ensure that customers receive the highest levels of quality, robustness and reception at all stages. Its Digital Radio Broadcast Suite is used extensively throughout the world including the largest DAB installation to date — the UK’s commercial DAB network. This is also being used to roll out Mobile TV services using Digital Multimedia Broadcasting in many countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific region where there are already many installations in China.

RadioScape’s innovative Software Defined Digital Radio(TM) approach has made it a leader in DAB and DMB technology with its DAB receiver modules being extensively used by many of the world’s leading consumer electronics manufacturers. The company has recently begun shipping its first generation of DRM/DAB modules, enabling multi-standard consumer receivers to reach retail in the first half of this year.

Founded in 1996, RadioScape’s investors include Atlas Ventures, Royal Bank Ventures Investments, Scottish Equity Partners, JAFCO, Texas Instruments, Yasuda Enterprise Development, iGlobe Partners, Psion and Arqiva. RadioScape is headquartered in London, England with offices in Singapore and Hong Kong.

RadioScape is a registered trademark and Software Defined Digital Radio is a trademark of RadioScape Limited.