SATCOM X-band Digital Beamforming Network
ABSTRACT: As the size, cost, and power of digital signal processing platforms continue to drop and their performance improves, incorporating digital beamformer into future SATCOM satellite payloads has become an increasingly attractive option. This is particularly true as the number of active SATCOM users and their required throughput has steadily grown. Digital beamforming offers the ability to simultaneously synthesize multiple independent radiation patterns that can be used to improve capacity through frequency re-use while nulling interfering signals that can disrupt SATCOM communication. MaXentric is developing a flexible X-band digital beamforming architecture codenamed X-BEAST. The architecture leverages the capabilities of two types of processors: FPGAs and Manycore. The FPGAs execute the relatively simple yet computationally intensive operations associated with wideband beamforming while the Manycore processor performs the more sophisticated higher level algorithms such as source localization and steering weight calculation. During Phase I, MaXentric investigated the feasibility and attractiveness of the X-BEAST to SATCOM beamforming. Under Phase II, MaXentric will construct, test, demonstrate, and deliver to the AFRL a highly flexible X-BEAST digital beamforming receiver prototype and supporting software along with a strategy for Phase III including a plan for scaling the system up to larger array sizes. BENEFIT: The X-BEAST architecture promises a flexible digital beamforming receiver architecture designed to support several high level functions that can be used to further improve link performance through interference detection and suppression. The applications for such a digital beamforming system are far-reaching: a large potential commercial market is next generation base stations for broadband IP and mobile data services. 4G- and IEEE 802.11n-based technologies have the capacity to meet the growing demand for untethered high-throughput data, but current limitations imposed by frequency availability and user mobility may be overcome using our unique architecture. In terms of government demand, next generation SATCOM payloads will require substantially more throughput capacity along with mechanisms for maintaining operation in jammer rich scenarios; all of these properties have been designed into X-BEAST. X-BEAST is also applicable to next generation SIGINT, Software Defined Radio (SDR), and radar array platforms. In the case of SIGINT, the digital beamformer can be used to synthesize several radiation patterns that independently scan the environment looking for signals of interest. When signals of interest are detected, the on-board Manycore processor can be used for signal classification and demodulation; it is important to note that the Manycore is well suited for this application since it can quickly switch between various signal classification algorithms on the fly. Similarly X-BEAST can be targeted towards SDR applications: the Manycore can switch between radio"personalities"on-the-fly providing a great deal of flexibility. With regard to radar array applications, the X-BEAST architecture can be used to create several independent search beams that can be used for target detection, tracking, identification; each of these higher level radar functions can be supported by the Manycore processor.
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MaXentric Technologies LLC
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