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Ceva PentaG Adds AI to 5G Baseband

March 13, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

Ceva’s new PentaG DSP comprises a set of configurable processing blocks that allow designers to build digital basebands implementing the recently ratified 3GPP 5G New Radio (5G-NR) specification. This intellectual property (IP) includes the company’s previously released XC-4500 LTE-Advanced DSP and X2 PHY controllers, enabling backward compatibility with previous-generation cellular standards. But it also extends the XC-4500 ISA with 5G-specific instructions and adds hardware accelerators for the new 5G channel-coding formats. Other new PentaG features include a vector multiply-accumulate (MAC) coprocessor and a neural-network engine that delivers 400 billion operations per second (GOPS). The neural engine runs deep-learning algorithms that handle 5G link optimization.

PentaG targets enhanced-mobile-broadband (EMBB) services using 5G-NR, which network operators plan to roll out in 2019. The initial non-standalone (NSA) mode uses existing LTE infrastructure for core network functions, but it can theoretically deliver up to 10Gbps peak downlink speeds, rolling off to 100Mbps at cell edges. Ceva’s new baseband intellectual property (IP) is suitable for gigabit 5G radios in smartphones as well as for embedded devices and fixed-wireless modems. It supports the initial 5G-NR deployments using sub-6GHz and millimeter-wave spectrum, but it’s software upgradable to support future 3GPP releases.

PentaG uses a modular approach, allowing customers to choose the components they need to add 5G capabilities to existing designs. The company licenses it as a complete hardware/software platform; alternatively, customers can license each component separately. Ceva plans to begin licensing PentaG to select customers in 2Q18 and to begin general licensing in 3Q18.

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