[Guide]As 5G infrastructure and implementation equipment continue to enter actual deployment, 5G has changed from concept to reality; it is clear that the 5G economy will not be just a copy of 3G or 4G.
New challenges require flexible solutions, which must be able to deal with diverse needs and at the same time be able to continue to evolve and develop with changes in market demand. Zynq® UltraScale+™ RFSoC DFE integrates more hardened IP logic than traditional soft logic on its architecture, which enables it to maintain Xilinx’s consistent flexible value while still being comparable to custom ASICs in terms of cost and power consumption. Competitiveness, so it can easily meet these challenges.
Frontier Challenges Facing 5G
Increasing radio performance and complexity
The need for more bandwidth in the radio unit (RU) is not only to increase the data rate. Operators also need to solve complex radio configuration issues for existing and new frequency bands. To meet these requirements, the radio should be designed to support the widest possible instantaneous bandwidth (iBW). For example, early 5G radios supported bandwidths up to 200MHz, but future radios need to support up to 400MHz.
Although 5G has now become the default wireless standard, 4G shipments will continue in large quantities for many years. When upgrading or installing 5G networks, operators must provide 4G coverage. Because the signal tower space is rented by unit and weight, the multi-mode RU that supports 4G and 5G at the same time helps reduce capital expenditure and operating costs.
Another complication of 5G radio is the distributed unit (DU) interface. Typical divisions are 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3; RU must give full support.
5G diversified use cases and evolving standards
3G mainly revolves around voice and text messages; the profit model of operators is to sell the number of minutes of talk time and text messages. There is a use case for 4G, which is mobile data. It has contributed to the rise of smart phones, and operators have started to sell data in gigabytes on a monthly basis.
As shown in Figure 1, 5G has three main use cases: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-high reliability and low-latency communications (URLLC), and large-scale machine-type communications (mMTC). If each use case is optimized separately, various radio solutions will be very different; and 5G will merge them into a unified standard.
Figure 1: 5G use cases
Today’s 5G all revolves around eMBB. Operators are scrambling to deploy 5G to attract customers to use the fastest network.
Because URLLC and mMTC are new use cases, no developed markets or developed economies have yet to implement them. The main application advertised by URLLC is autonomous driving, but 5G networks will not play an important role in this field. This process requires real-time operation. One possible use case for URLLC is to run vehicles or machinery in environments that are too dangerous for human operations, such as mining and disaster relief.
The mMTC use case applies to situations where there are millions of connected devices per square kilometer. For smart home devices, WiFi works well and 5G will not replace it. mMTC use cases will be more important for industrial, commercial, and government applications (such as smart factories, smart cities).
Constantly evolving standards
With the release of the 9th edition in 2009, the 4G LTE standard was finalized, and in the following 8 years, it continued to evolve through the launch of 5 3GPP versions until it evolved to 4G LTE Advanced.
The first and second phases of 5G were defined in the 15th and 16th editions, covering the basic eMBB, mMTC and URLLC. The preparation of the 17th edition has already started, and the 18th edition has also been planned. The 5G standard will evolve and develop with market demand in the next ten years.
5G market mutation
We can broadly call another major challenge facing 5G the market mutation. Looking back at the 4G market, it can be seen that it is quite rigid. There is only one use case for 4G, and the market is made up of traditional operators who sell data to consumers and buy network infrastructure from traditional hardware OEMs.
Today, both the O-RAN alliance and telecom infrastructure projects are subverting existing business models by diversifying suppliers. Disruptive 5G operators such as Dish, Rakuten and RJIO are challenging their peers and established operators.
Subversion and true innovation will occur in private networks that use mMTC and URLLC functions to provide complete enterprise-level solutions.
Figure 2: 5G will help realize innovation in private networks
The result is a dynamic 5G economy with new operators and new suppliers participating, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: 5G: New business models, markets and competition
Zynq RFSoC DFE helps meet current and future 5G needs
Zynq RFSoC DFE implements the known computationally intensive DFE function on a hardened or ASIC-like structure. These structures are configured to be used in both 4G and 5G New Radio (NR) standards.
Figure 4: Zynq RFSoC DFE integrates a complete DFE subsystem with hardened IP
The chip area occupied by these hardened units is reduced, and compared with the traditional FPGA soft logic shown in Figure 5, it can save up to 80% of power consumption. Because each hardened IP core is smaller in physical size than soft logic, compared with Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Gen 3 devices, adding cores can provide 2 times the DFE processing power.
Figure 5: Advantages of hardened IP implementation
With full use of DFE to harden the IP block, the power consumption of Zynq RFSoC DFE is about 50% lower than the equivalent implementation on the third-generation Zynq RFSoC device.
As shown in Figure 6, the hardened IP blocks are regularly laid out on the Zynq RFSoC DFE in a manner consistent with the data flow. Each IP function is composed of multiple instances, and the device can be scaled according to the application. To provide maximum flexibility, users can bypass arbitrary blocks and add logic at any point on the data path.
Figure 6: Zynq RFSoC DFE functional schematic diagram
Zynq RFSoC DFE supports multi-band, multi-mode radio with iBW up to 400MHz under FR1 (up to 7.125GHz). When used as an IF transceiver for FR2, it supports iBW up to 1600MHz.
In short, Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC DFE continues the successful foundation of Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC, including all key computationally intensive digital processing blocks in a hardened configuration that meets the standards, and at the same time built-in adaptive logic for unknown future needs and market needs , Which not only provides advantages comparable to ASICs, but also maintains Xilinx’s consistent flexibility and market launch speed.