Intel-based SDR

Image revealing BladeRF SDR inside a SatSite GSM and LTE base station

The SatSite base station is built on general-purpose hardware, replacing commonly used FPGA and DSP chips with generic Intel chipsets, and uses a non-proprietary operating system – Linux. This accelerates the adoption of new protocols and technologies like 5G, low-power deployments, MIMO, etc.

Historically, radio has been implemented in hardware chipsets as ASIC. Then, FPGAs and DSPs allowed the software firmware to be updated. New software based on DSPs implemented on top of generic operating systems, such as Linux, lower the implementation time and create a new wave of development for mobile networks.

The SatSite base station uses generic hardware – SDR board bladeRF, connected over USB, and generic software.

LTE and GSM-specific protocols are implemented in Linux.

The SatSite replaces special-purpose equipment consisting in BBU (baseband unit)-RRU (remote radio unit) setups with lightweight, commodity hardware.

With no baseband unit required, the SatSite can be installed on towers with no shelter and no cooling equipment, thus reducing the costs associated with civil infrastructure.

Power and function management: the SatSite can be software-configured for up to 4-TRX/ARFCN, with a simple software change.

The YateBTS is written in a high-level language (C++) and runs on Linux, allowing the operator to configure and manage the equipment locally, with minimal external support.

The YateBTS SatSite integrates a parts of the MSC and the SGSN, any custom features at BSC-MSC level (such as local call switching and local IP access) can be supported.

SDR advantages for operator:

Longer life cycle and upgradability to yet unknown protocols

Less expensive network management

  • More uniform network can be built because the same SDR is portable to many cell sizes and types
  • SDR is based on commodity operating systems
  • Dynamic Self Organizing Network (SON) techniques across many cell sizes and types
  • More visibility into the Radio Access Network performance

Support for multiple protocols from one radio, even at the same time

Better radio performance.
SDR systems can implement more complex algorithms that FPGAs

  • Amplifier linearization
  • Better demodulators
  • Smarter frequency reuse
  • More capacity in the same spectrum, more range and coverage

Faster upgrades to new protocol releases


FPGA/DSP base station

Image provonig how DSP-based telecom hardware is much more complicated

Different hardware is required to run each technology in the network.

Hardware-based network equipment is difficult to upgrade or reprogram.

Conventional FPGA base stations require large investment and operational costs associated with equipment and civil works.

Special-purpose equipment comes with vendor-specific training and management.