MCP Channel Unit

Square Peg Communications Inc.’s Multi-Channel Platform (MCP) is a hardware and software platform suitable for use in demanding satcom applications.

MCP Channel Units (CUs) are used to implement the physical layer of a variety of air interfaces via a software-defined radio architecture.  They are intended for use in satellite or wireless base stations, signal measurement equipment, physical layer test equipment, channel simulators and other applications utilizing Digital Signal Processing (DSP).

A Channel Unit (CU) card set is comprised of a Channel Unit Front Card (CUFC) and a Channel Unit Rear Card (CURC).  The CUFC is the DSP and FPGA based signal processing engine that implements the physical layer modulators and demodulators.  The CUFC provides an Ethernet IP interface for control, status and data.  It also incorporates an IPMI controller for shelf management in a suitably equipped chassis.

The CURC interfaces to the CUFC at digital complex baseband and provides the 70 MHz IF up and down conversion function.  It provides two transmit IF output ports (TxA and TxB) and two receive IF input ports (RxA and RxB).  Alternative IF or RF interfaces can be implemented by changing only the CURC.

Multiple CUs can be synchronized to an internally generated or externally provided timing pulse.  High availability is facilitated by the use of redundant Ethernet connections, hot swap support and extensive built-in test.  The CU firmware and configuration settings are field upgradeable via Ethernet.

The CU provides four transmit and four receive composite channels, each of which can be independently tuned within the IF band and output to or input from a selected IF feed.  Within each composite channel, the number of bearers is dependent upon the signal bandwidth and the required processing power.

    • IF to Ethernet high availability modem
    • Ease of maintenance
    • Software reconfigurable
    • Utilizes floating point processors providing up to 3.6 GFLOPS or 14.4 GOPS per DSP
    • Excellent RF performance
  • Channel Unit Front Card

    Form factor

    6U PICMG® 2.16

    Composite channels

    4 Tx/Rx (independently tuneable)

    Composite channel bandwidth

    up to 1.25 MHz

    Bearer channels per composite channel

    Application-dependent; e.g., 4 for BGAN or Classic Aero

    DSPs per composite channel

    1 x 500 / 600 MHz TigerSHARC
    or 2 x 500 MHz TigerSHARC


    Xilinx Virtex 4 FX60

    DSP / FPGA communications

    1 full duplex link port @ 800 Mbps
    2 full duplex link ports @ 200 Mbps

    DSP expansion

    1 expansion connector per DSP cluster for off-board FPGA

    Control processor


    Ethernet interface

    Auto-switching between Switch A, Switch B and front panel

    IPMI interface

    Per PICMG® 2.9

    On-card configuration

    FPGA, DSP & PPC firmware
    Primary/secondary image select
    User configuration parameters


    8 red/orange/green LEDs per
    composite channel
    8 red/orange/green application-
    specific LEDs
    1 blue hot swap LED


    Approx. 50W for 4 x 500 MHz DSPs + CURC with 2 Tx + 2 Rx

  • Channel Unit Rear Card

    Number of IF feeds

    Up to 2 Tx + 2 Rx
    On-card loopback for self-test

    Tx/Rx IF frequency range

    50 to 90 MHz

    Max. total power per Tx feed

    –17 dBm

    Max. per-carrier Tx power

    Dependent upon number of bearers per composite channel, typically –29 dBm

    Tx phase noise density

    @ 100 Hz:   ≤ –70 dBc/Hz
    @ 1 kHz:     ≤ –80 dBc/Hz
    @ 10 kHz:   ≤ –90 dBc/Hz
    @ 100 kHz: ≤ –100 dBc/Hz

    Tx spurious

    < –86 dBm for carrier at –29 dBm

    Tx 3rd order intermodulation

    < –55 dBc (2 carriers at –20 dBm)

    Tx I/Q imbalances


    Typical Rx dynamic range

    –65 to –25 dBm
    –10 dBm max total

    Reference input

    10 MHz @ 0 dBm

    Timing sync input (optional)

    1 pps, TTL

    On-card configuration

    FPGA & PPC firmware
    Calibration data


    2 red/orange/green LEDs per feed
    1 blue hot swap LED


    Supplied by CUFC

  • MCP CU Data Sheet

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