Xilinx and ISR Technologies this week demonstrated a software-defined radio (SDR) using partial reconfiguration of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) at a technical conference in Monterey, Calif. The demonstration consisted of an SD-IDU (software-defined indoor unit) modem from ISR Technologies using a wideband waveform in a Xilinx Virtex-II Pro FPGA to transmit video data to another SD-IDU. While maintaining transmission of the wideband waveform, the SD-IDU then initiated a narrowband waveform to also transmit voice data to the other SD-IDU.

By supporting multiple waveforms in a single FPGA and seamlessly changing waveforms on a dynamic basis without disrupting current waveforms, the technology can significantly lower the cost, power consumption and size of an SDR, the companies said.