Channeliser IP core for FPGA gains wideband capability

May 09, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
RFEL (Newport, Isle of Wight, UK) has added wideband input capability to its channeliser IP core, ChannelCore Flex. This meets the increasing need for ever wider bandwidth monitoring for a wide range of demanding channelisation applications such as communications, intercept, electronic warfare, security, industrial applications, COMINT, SIGINT, sonar, radio astronomy, research and software-defined radio.

“With the new Wideband variant of ChannelCore Flex, you can now monitor multi-GHz bandwidths,” explained Dr Alex Kuhrt, RFEL’s CEO. “This enables either hardware costs to be reduced or more bandwidth monitoring to be performed for a similar system cost.”


Previously, the core was limited to input bandwidths around 300 MHz but this wideband input option introduces a parallel architecture supporting multi-GHz bandwidths. The input parallelism is scalable so that the practical input bandwidth limit is governed only by the available FPGA resources. RFEL has already successfully delivered a 2 GHz version to a major European customer, implemented on a Xilinx Zynq 7045 device.


The core uses a novel architecture to implement a large number of Digital Down Converter (DDC) channels very efficiently. FPGA resources are used in proportion to the log of the number of channels enabling thousands of channels to be implemented in a moderately sized FPGA.


Real-time, on-the-fly control is available for each channel to change the input source selection, centre frequency, sample rate, gain and filter response including bandwidth. There is a user programmable option to maintain phase coherency when reprogramming channels and the core is still capable of being phase coherent across multiple cores.

Each channel has excellent RF performance with SFDR of greater than 80 dBc, 80% Nyquist pass-band and a passband ripple of less than 0.1 dB. A fractional rate resampler is provided on each channel, allowing resampling to sub-Hz accuracy, making ChannelCore Flex a solution that delivers performance using a low power budget and highly effective use of FPGA resources. The core also now supports VITA 49 timestamping.


RFEL can provide free, fully operational, fully featured cores to support system design and evaluation in either MATLAB or ModelSim. These evaluation models operate for 60 minutes before reboot allowing time for extensive evaluation of the effectiveness of the design. The time limitation is removed when the core is programmed