Design Methods for Radio Architectures GOing Nanoscale
The main idea of the DRAGON project is to research and use new design methodologies and architectural innovations, based on reconfigurability and state-of-the-art digital CMOS technology, in order to break the barriers imposed by the lack of scaling properties of analog components. With this concept, distinct reductions in cost, size and energy consumption for multi-standard cellular handsets can be achieved, while higher demands on data rate can be met. Data rates are increasing every day, therefore, the energy consumption per transmitted or received data bit has to be reduced in order to save energy and avoid thermal problems. Wireless data services will become an attractive low-cost alternative to be used in novel applications.
Motivation:In the DRAGON project a design platform comprising multistandard transceiver specifications and novel flexible architectures is developed. The number of required external components, like analog filters, are replaced by reconfigurable digital CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) circuitry; and critical building-blocks are implemented to demonstrate proof of concept, both of the architecture and design methodology. All critical building-blocks are fabricated, tested, and demonstrated in state-of-the-art CMOS technology. The project results are also being provided to standardisation bodies, allowing an alignment of requirements to technology limits.
Objectives:Objective 1 – Miniaturisation of Complex Radio Systems
Future terminals will need radios that support multiple standards and data rates up to 1 Gbit/s. In order to avoid a serious impact on cost, size and weight of the terminal due to increasing numbers of radios and their capacity, miniaturization through design of innovative reconfigurable architectures in nanoscale technologies is crucial.
Objective 2 – Design Methodologies for Energy Efficient Solutions for High Performance Systems
The new, innovative designs should be capable of reaching the same level of average power consumption as dedicated solutions. DRAGON aims at obtaining a 50% energy reduction compared to classical systems.
Objective 3 – Multi-Functional / Multi-Purpose Devices
The proposed multi-functional designs in DRAGON should allow paying off non-recurring engineering costs (NRE) in chip design by re-using the same system in a broad range of applications. Further, DRAGON aims at supporting more than two standards in one building block, which is currently the maximum number that can be achieved.
Objective 4 – Proof of Concept by Silicon Demonstrators
The design of innovative architectures in the most advanced commercial CMOS technologies should not only be used to illustrate and prove the DRAGON project results, but, more importantly, should give European companies the confidence that the disruptive design paths are ready for adoption, and convince them of their significant added value.
Consortium:The DRAGON consortium brings together partners and compentencies from Europe’s leading companies in the areas of nano electronics and wireless communications, one research institute and three universities, with radio chip designers and system experts.
The consortium is covering the full design chain from customer requirements over system integration to hardware design. Top universities are included to achieve optimum innovation and move the current boundaries of the state-of-the-art. The combination of all this guarantees the high quality and optimal industrial exploitation of the project outcomes. This will strengthen the European telecom equipment and semiconductor industry.