[USRP-users] RFNoC -- Making FPGA design easy from GNU Radio

Matt Ettus matt at ettus.com
Thu Dec 4 13:52:42 EST 2014


Ettus Research is very excited to announce the release of RFNoC!

Modern FPGAs, like the Xilinx Kintex-7 and ZYNQ used in third generation
USRPs have incredible computational capability, but taking advantage of
that capability is difficult at best when using traditional FPGA design
flows.

RFNoC (which stands for RF Network on Chip) provides the capability to
create FPGA applications as easily as you create GNU Radio flowgraphs. This
includes the ability to seamlessly transfer data to & from an FPGA in your
application, dramatically improving the ease of FPGA off-loading.

Here is an example of an RFNoC flowgraph built using the GNU Radio
Companion. With four blocks, data is being generated on the host,
off-loaded to the FPGA for filtering, and then brought back to the host for
plotting:

[image: Inline image 1]

Signal processing algorithms are encapsulated in easy-to-use wrappers which
allow them to be dynamically connected and used as needed.  Fixed routing
is eliminated.  Mixing and matching host-based and FPGA-based processing is
transparent to the user, and that processing can scale across multiple
FPGAs and devices across a network.  You can now make custom FPGA designs
without ever needing to write Verilog or VHDL!

RFNoC has been integrated into UHD for our third generation USRPs
(X300-series, E300-series, and future devices), enabling you to share FPGA
designs across devices easily.  Additionally, we have integrated support
for RFNoC into GNU Radio and GRC, so you can now graphically design mixed
host- and FPGA-based flowgraphs.


Watch an RFNoC presentation and demo from GRCon14:  (long, but HIGHLY
recommended as an intro)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oPxIFtwyb8

All documentation and links to the source code can be found here:

      https://github.com/EttusResearch/uhd/wiki/RFNoC:-Getting-Started

A paper from ACM SIGCOMM with more background:

      http://conferences.sigcomm.org/sigcomm/2013/papers/srif/p45.pdf

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  We plan to hold
most of the RFNoC-related discussion on the usrp-users mailing list.

Matt Ettus
President, Ettus Research
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