Wed. Oct 23rd, 2019

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Fairwaves Set to Launch XCOM Embedded x86 Platform for SDR Applications

Mobile network company Fairwaves is set to launch a bundle of new XCOM embedded x86 SDR (Software Defined Radio) development boards, which are geared for the company’s UmTRX dual-channel wide-band transceiver, and the XTRX SDR platform. That said, they could also function just as well with USB, Ethernet, and mini PCIe SDRs the company claims.

The XCOM platform will be offered in different bundles, with one using a Core i7–7600U from AAEON, and the other with an Atom E3940 from Portwell. (📷: Fairwaves)

Fairwaves designed XCOM using the COM (Carrier on Module) approach, which is why the company is offering the SDR board in several bundles using two different processors.

“For this campaign, we are offering XCOM bundles based on two different COM Express models, one with a Core i7–7600U from AAEON and one with an Atom E3940 from Portwell. XCOM is designed to work with other COM Express Type 10 Mini modules as well, but we have only tested these two. Please report any success or challenges you might have with other modules!”

As mentioned earlier, XCOM comes in three different bundles:

  • Building Block: XCOM with Intel Atom E3940 or Intel Core i7–7600U COM modules.
  • XTRX SDR Pack: XCOM with Intel Core i7–7600U COM module, SSD, XTRX SDR, and pre-installed Ubuntu with XTRX drivers.
  • OpenRAN 2G Net Pack 2 X 5W: XCOM with Atom E3940 COM module, UmTRX SDR, E-GSM900 2 X 5W RF frontend, and open source GSM software in a rugged IP65 enclosure.
XCOM offers more flexibility over Arm and other x86 SDR platforms, although the reduced power efficiency is due to the board’s ‘always on’ feature, which allows users to reflash software and diagnose issues remotely. (📷: Fairwaves)

All the bundles feature RF power amplifier control with a pair of software-controlled, high-load DCDCs to control the RF output power to the PAs, four ADCs to measure the forward and reflected power of two PAs for VSWR calculation, and GPIO to turn Pas on/off. They include miniPCIe with two PCIe lanes, and EEPROM with one write-lockable page for storing unique IDs, security keys, and other data. They are also outfitted with vertical-only connectors and passive cooling.

XCOM comes with Fairwaves’ Coreboot support (selected COM modules only) modular software platform, which allows the customization of the boot process. It also provides users with the ability to perform remote firmware upgrades, software recovery, software flashing, and more. Fairwaves is set to launch the XCOM bundles on Crowd Supply; however there is no word yet on pricing and exact launch date.

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Author: Cabe Atwell