News | May 3, 2001

Spectrum Signal Processing unveils Software Defined Radio architecture

Source: Spectrum Signal Processing
<%=company1%> (Burnaby, BC, Canada), a leader of high-density solutions for wireless signal and Voice over Packet processing, recently announced an innovative Software Defined Radio (SDR) architecture targeted for both government and commercial wireless markets. SDR technology is a key enabler that allows network operators to support changing air interface standards. It also enables them to provide better performance, richer feature sets, and advanced new services that provide choices to the end-user, thereby generating new revenue streams without additional investment in hardware.

"Our new SDR architecture is another important piece in our strategy to become a leading provider of wireless communications subsystems," said Brian Lowe, Vice President, Wireless Systems. "Effectively Spectrum has been designing software-defined signal processing products since 1996. The new flexComm SDR architecture builds on this experience, enabling Spectrum to provide industry-leading high-density subsystems for wireless applications. As consumer demand for wireless access continues to grow, infrastructure providers will require more efficient and cost-effective signal processing power to meet the demand. We will continue to expand our design capabilities to address the processing challenges in the wireless communications markets today and in the future."

"Forward Concepts anticipates that software defined radios (SDRs) could be the standard technology deployed in Third Generation (3G) cellular systems perhaps within 3-5 years. The huge investment in infrastructure required by the service providers would be substantially more cost-effective and efficiently utilized with a software defined radio approach such that they can upgrade their infrastructure to support new services or air interface protocols merely by having to download new software to existing base stations. Spectrum's flexComm SDR family appears well positioned to enable this type of functionality," said Jim Gunn, Forward Concepts Associate and author of their report: Wireless Infrastructure Technology and Markets: Evolution to 2.5G and 3G.

The flexComm SDR architecture is compliant with the SDR Forum specifications and the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Software Communications Architecture (SCA), providing a flexible SDR subsystem that is modular, expandable and scalable. The SDR Forum is an open, non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the development, deployment and use of open architectures for advanced wireless systems. The JTRS' goal is to migrate today's legacy military communications systems that have limited or no networking capability, to systems compliant with the JTRS open systems architecture, which will improve interoperability between radios of different military forces.

This pure software defined standards-based architecture can be reconfigured through software either over the air or through the network without having to install new hardware, saving valuable development time and costs, as well as preserving the hardware investment in deployed systems.

About Spectrum's SDR flexComm Architecture
flexComm SDR provides the highest performance digital transceiver subsystem in the market today. This architecture will integrate technology from a number of leading wireless component providers such as Texas Instruments, Xilinx, and Motorola, to allow thousands of users to communicate simultaneously on up to 12 independent Radio Frequency (RF) bands. Because the flexComm SDR architecture is completely software defined, it supports multiple air interface standards simultaneously, including all of the waveforms required for JTRS and the various 2G and 3G cellular standards.

In addition, this architecture will also support future air interface standards by simply upgrading the software. Eliminating the need for costly hardware upgrades every couple of years, this software defined capability provides an enormous savings in fixed wireless infrastructure systems, including cellular base stations, tactical operations centers, and wireless local loop.

"We are pleased that Spectrum has chosen Xilinx as a partner for their SDR family architecture," said Dr. Chris Dick, Xilinx DSP Chief Architect. "Our leading-edge Virtex II FPGA devices combine the flexibility and processing power required for software defined radio and 3G algorithm implementations, such as despreading and rake receivers for signal enhancement. Xilinx FPGAs are a crucial part of most 3G base station designs and we expect to further capitalize on that market with products like Spectrum's SDR family."

The SDR architecture will be available on a high availability CompactPCI platform that is designed for 99.999% target uptime. Each blade in the subsystem operates independently and is configured so there is no single point of failure in the system.

The market for Software Defined Radio in 2003-2007 is estimated at $19.65 billion. Applications for the Software Defined Radio architecture include third generation cellular base stations, joint tactical radio system (JTRS), smart antenna, commercial and military satellite communications (SATCOM), wideband signal analysis for surveillance, and multi-channel receiver systems.

The first SDR products using this innovative architecture will be available by the end of 2001 with minimum configurations of the subsystem available for approximately US $15,000 in volume.

About Spectrum Signal Processing
Spectrum Signal Processing is a leading provider of high-density wireless signal and Voice over Packet processing systems for customers in the communications infrastructure market. Spectrum's proprietary hardware and software systems are designed for use in communications gateways, cellular and satellite base stations and government wireless systems. Spectrum's Wireless Systems group is focused on supplying solutions for air-to-infrastructure wireless applications such as cellular base stations, satellite earth stations, wireless receivers, cellular fraud prevention and spectrum monitoring. Spectrum's extensive flexComm Wireless Communications product line consists of high channel density narrowband and wideband solutions, as well as baseband processing engines, on a variety of platforms including CompactPCI, PCI, VME and VXI.

Spectrum's website is at and the head office is located at One Spectrum Court, #200 – 2700 Production Way, Burnaby, B.C., Canada. Phone (604) 421-5422; fax (604) 421-1764.

This news release contains forward-looking statements related to the development of Spectrum's new SDR architecture, the size of the market for SDR technology and the Company's ability to penetrate this market. These statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including the timely development and acceptance of Spectrum's new products, the impact of competitive products and pricing, availability of components, changing market conditions and the other risks detailed from time to time in other company filings. Actual results may differ materially from those projected. These forward-looking statements represent the company's judgment as of the date of this release and Spectrum may or may not update these forward-looking statements in the future.

Source: Spectrum Signal Processing Inc.

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