UK Design: RF Engines profile
Based on the Isle of Wight, RFEL specialises in high-end digital signal processing algorithms for use in FPGAs and system-on-chip designs.
It employs 20 staff with a high percentage of PhDs and has won numerous awards for its designs, including two Queen’s Awards for Innovation.
Since its formation in 1999, the company has developed a worldwide client base by focusing its designs on leading-edge hardware and an increasing number of patented proprietary techniques for real-time signal processing. Applications have been found in defence, security, wireless communications, instrumentation, electronic warfare, video processing and image processing.
The company specialises in high-speed and low-power signal processing for FPGA via its FPGA System Design Services and Consultancy. It has its portfolio of techniques.
For example, its ChannelCore Flex can separate any number of arbitrary-width channels straight off-air from 0GHz to 20GHz with no intermediate mixing.
Combined with a Fujitsu ADC that samples at 60Gsample/s with 20GHz bandwidth, “we have an enormous capability to extract input bandwidth: your restrictions are down to the board design and the FPGAs you are laying down”, said technical director Eddy Fry. Inside this development are digital signal techniques including weighted over-lap and add (WOLA) pre-processing, hierarchical channelisation using a pipelined frequency transform (PFT), and others the firm is not revealing.
Such designs allow the radio spectrum to be monitored in real-time and enable all events to be identified, however fleeting or fast-moving they are.
This is relevant, for example, in monitoring communications systems, where high-speed frequency-hopping is used; in communications, where hundreds or even thousands of individual channels can be extracted from a wideband signal; and in defence, where land, air or sea systems are required to acquire the signals of fast-moving missiles or other targets.
Customers include: Nokia, Siemens, BAE Systems, Thales, Selex, ITT Exelis, Anritsu, LG, the UK Home Office and MoD often approaching RFEL when they need “a really high performance solution, often implemented within a constrained FPGA device using limited resources”, said a company spokesman.