FPGAs Coming to Wireless Base Station Designs
The article contends that as the market matures in the wireless infrastructure arena, cost pressures will drive manufacturers to FPGA-based designs to gain performance improvements in addition to cost reductions. Revenue figures for infrastructure equipment sales is estimated at $27B in 2005, but is expected to drop back to $10B to $15B by the end of the decade when the market matures. Prices for base stations already have dropped 80% since 2001 and will continue to decline.
Manufacturers will have to meet a lower price point, but maintain differentiation which they typically do through better algorithms. The FPGA-based approach gives vendors an opportunity to innovate on the algorithmic side at a price point customers will accept. Typically, new algorithms are more complex and require greater processing bandwidth. To accomplish this, FPGAs will bring faster system level clocks and new parallel processing architectures.
Software Defined Radio continues to be one of the more interesting Emerging Technologies in the field today. If you are working with Software Defined Radio applications, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hall T. Martin