Cambridge Consultants demonstrates a world first in radio design

Technology innovation firm Cambridge Consultants has successfully completed initial trials of the world’s first fully digital radio transmitter – a turning point in wireless design and a real enabler for the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and 5G technology. It’s a radio built purely from computing power, using the same familiar digital technology you’d find in a computer microprocessor in your home or office.

Unlike ‘software-defined radio’ (SDR), it’s not a mixture of analogue and digital components – for the first time, the radio is completely digital, which can enable new ways of using spectrum intelligently. The innovation is set to be hugely disruptive, like a previous Cambridge Consultants breakthrough – the development of the first single-chip Bluetooth radio, which led to the spinout of the global short-range wireless and audiovisual giant CSR.

The latest breakthrough – codenamed Pizzicato – unlocks the potential of the IoT. It  opens the door to a new dynamic way in which the predicted 100 billion IoT devices can operate together in a crowded radio spectrum. And it will enable the creation of 5G systems, with multiple radios and antennas.

The Pizzicato digital radio transmitter consists of an integrated circuit outputting a single stream of bits, and an antenna – with no conventional radio parts or digital-to-analogue converter. Patented algorithms perform the necessary ultra-fast computations in real time, making it possible for standard digital technology to generate high-frequency radio signals directly.

“Our first trial of the technology has created 14 simultaneous cellular base station signals,” said Monty Barlow, director of wireless technology at Cambridge Consultants. “But it is the potential which is so exciting. Like mainstream microprocessing, a Pizzicato-based radio would directly benefit from Moore’s Law – shrinking in cost, size and power consumption with each new generation of silicon fabrication.

“If we’re going to get high-speed broadband to every mobile phone in the world, we’ll need lots of tiny, high-performance radios in those phones. The radios will be squashed together in a way that analogue just doesn’t tolerate. Whereas a Pizzicato-like digital radio can follow Moore’s Law to smaller size and lower power consumption.

“It could also be programmed to generate almost any combination of signals at any carrier frequencies, nimbly adapting its behaviour in a way that is impossible in conventional radios. It is early days for this technology but we believe radio design has reached a turning point.”

In recent decades, wireless design teams such as Cambridge Consultants have employed extensive digital techniques in radios – and such SDRs have provided a tenfold improvement in the data rate that can be squeezed into a radio channel. But a more dramatic improvement is needed to cope with the growth in mobile broadband and the IoT.

Good radio spectrum is a scarce resource – only low frequencies (1GHz or lower) propagate well over distance or through walls, so they are in great demand. Greater efficiency requires the use of dynamic or ‘cognitive wireless’ techniques to sense the radio environment and switch parameters on the fly. This could give access to more of the estimated 90% of the allocated spectrum which is not in use at any one time.

Making use of the higher carrier frequencies of 10GHz and beyond, however, will require techniques such as meshing and beamforming to circumvent the inherently poor range – and the analogue parts of radios are becoming an increasing bottleneck.

“Crowding 50 analogue radios together on one chip, switching their operational parameters every few microseconds and expecting them to work at 60GHz is an analogue designer’s nightmare,” said Barlow. “With Pizzicato, we have created a glimpse of future disruptive technology – a radio built purely from computing power.”

Cambridge Consultants has one of the world’s largest independent wireless development teams, with more than 120 experts working in areas ranging from ultra-low-power short-range wireless connectivity to global satellite communication. During its 55-year history, the company has helped clients develop technology ranging from the world’s first wireless implanted pacing system to the ground-to-air radio system controlling air traffic over the majority of the planet.

Cambridge Consultants is demonstrating Pizzicato at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, March 2-5, stand 7B21 in Hall 7.

Notes to editors

캠브리지 컨설턴트(Cambridge Consultants)는 혁신적인 제품을 개발하고, 지적 재산권을 창출 및 라이선스하며, 전 세계 고객을 대상으로 기술 중심 문제를 해결하는 비즈니스 컨설팅 서비스를 제공합니다. 캠브리지 컨설턴트는 60년 이상 기업고객이 신기술을 도입하여 업계 최초로 제품을 출시하거나, 새로운 시장에 진출하거나, 기존 시장을 확장하거나, 사업기회를 상업적 성공으로 전환하도록 지원해 왔다. 엔지니어, 과학자, 수학자 및 디자이너를 포함한 900명 이상의 인원이 캠브리지(영국), 보스턴(미국), 도쿄(동경), 싱가포르(싱가포르)의 연구소에서 의료 기술, 산업 및 소비자 제품, 디지털 보건, 에너지 및 무선 통신 등 다양한 업종에 걸친 솔루션을 제공합니다.더 많은 정보를 원하시면, www.cambridgeconsultants.com를 방문하세요.

케임브리지 컨설턴트(Cambridge Consultants)는 캡제미니 그룹의 혁신 컨설팅 브랜드인 캡제미니 인벤트 (Capgemini Invent)의 소속입니다. 캡제미니 인벤트는 CxO가 조직의 미래를 계획하고 구축할 수 있도록 지원합니다. 30개 이상의 오피스와 25개 이상의 창의적인 연구소를 보유하고 있습니다.  캡제미니 인벤트의 7,000 여개의 팀들은 창의적인 설계, 깊은 산업 전문 지식과 통찰력을 바탕으로 미래의 새로운 디지털 솔루션 및 비즈니스 모델을 개발합니다. 

캡제미니 인벤트는 그룹의 핵심적인 부문으로, 기술력을 바탕으로 고객사의 비즈니스를 혁신하고 관리하는 데 있어 기업과 협력하는 글로벌 리더입니다.  캡제미니 그룹은한 포용적이고 지속 가능한 미래를 위하기술을 통해 인간의 에너지를 촉발하려는 목적에 따라 매일 발전됩니다. 거의 50 개국에서 270,000 명의 팀원으로 구성된 책임감 있고 다양한 조직입니다. 우수한 50 년 전통과 깊은 산업 전문성을 갖춘 캡제미니는 빠르게 진화하고 혁신적인 클라우드, 데이터, AI, 커넥티비티 소프트웨어, 디지털 엔지니어링 및 플랫폼에 힘입어 전략 및 설계에서 운영에 이르기까지 비즈니스의 전체 폭을 해결할 수 있도록 고객사로부터 신뢰를 받고 있습니다. 캡제미니 그룹은 2020 년 글로벌 매출이 160 억 유로라고 보고했습니다.
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