Based on the ZedBoard™ from Avnet®, the ZeptoSDR is an air-cooled table-top enclosure that encapsulates the Xilinx® Zynq®-based platform and the advanced Nutaq Radio420S FMC-based tunable RF card.
ZeptoSDR under the Hood
The included fan-tray provides appropriate airflow allowing you to take full advantage of the available RF receiver and transmitter low-noise power amplifiers, as well as the available Zynq, for intensive MIPS processing without the risk of heat damage.
The Right Side
On the right side, two video ports (VGA and HDMI) are available for ARM®-based graphical applications, such as prototyping portable wireless video-streaming applications. Coupled with Nutaq External Application Programming Interface (EAPI) framework (with its integrated transport API for remote control and data streaming features), the GigE interface enables users to connect to the ZeptoSDR from an external PC running either Linux or Windows. A remote GNU Radio plug-in is also provided and accessible from this GigE interface. The audio I/Os are handy for embedded radio prototyping, enabling voice and push-to-talk radio waveform implementation. For FPGA and embedded ARM debugging, only a plug-and-play USB cable is required. Note that a remote wireless application built with Nutaq EAPI is easily migrated to the embedded ARM application using the same embedded API, saving lots of migration time. Simply replace the EAPI calls by the embedded API functions, rebuild, and program the ARM or put your brand new ARM-code on the 4GB SD card.
A standard FPGA JTAG interface is available on the rear panel as well as a USB UART port with direct access to the ARM processor, which is useful for console or debugging applications. To connect with additional hardware, a fast USB-II OTG port is provided for hardware peripheral addition or direct connection to a remote host PC. Finally, three Pmods™ ports are available to add a variety of accessories (for example, an external GPS receiver). Many options of Pmods are available for the ZedBoard, as well as corresponding drivers developed by the community of users. See www.zedboard.org and www.zedboard.org/accessories for more information.
Nutaq’s Powerful Partner to the Zedboard: Our Radio420S
The Radio420S contains a System on Chip (SoC) Integrated RF, the LMS6002D, which is the first (and currently the only) SoC RF which is in full distribution, i.e. it is available for purchase by anybody.
An SoC RF includes a direct RF to baseband conversion with integrated A/D & D/A samplers. This minimizes complexity, reduces the effects of inter-component mismatch and protects against overall external noise pickup. For more technical reading on the advantages of an SoC RF see this article.
Key features of the radio in the ZeptoSDR
- 12-bit, A/D 80 MSPS baseband sampling frequency
- 1.5 MHz to 28 MHz programmable modulation BW
- 300MHz to 3.8 GHz complete tuning range
- RF bandpass programmable filter banks
- RF self calibration routine
- Shielded individual RX / TX and clock section for noise immunity (enabling in-the field deployment, not limiting the user to a lab controlled environment)
Note that for non-shielded solutions, radiation sources such as base station towers, on-board CLK sources, and even your own transmit section path can corrupt your receive signal chain, particularly for full-duplex FDD communications.