Traditionally, mechanically steered dishes or analog phased array beamforming systems have been used for radio frequency receivers, where strong directivity and high performance were much more important than low-cost requirements. Real-time controlled digital phased array beamforming could not be realized due to the high computational requirements and the implementation costs. Today, digital hardware has become powerful enough to perform the massive number of operations required for real-time digital beamforming. With the continuously decreasing price per transistor, high performance signal processing has become available by using multi-processor architectures. More and more applications are using beamforming to improve the spatial utilization of communication channels, resulting in many dedicated digital architectures for specific applications. By using a reconfigurable architecture, a single hardware platform can be used for different applications with different processing needs. In this article, we show how a reconfigurable multi-processor system-on-chip based architecture can be used for phased array processing, including an advanced tracking mechanism to continuously receive signals with a mobile satellite receiver. An adaptive beamformer for DVB-S satellite reception is presented that uses an Extended Constant Modulus Algorithm to track satellites. The receiver consists of 8 antennas and is mapped on three reconfigurable Montium TP processors. With a scenario based on a phased array antenna mounted on the roof of a car, we show that the adaptive steering algorithm is robust in dynamic scenarios and correctly demodulates the received signal.
- Adaptive beamformingPhased arrayVirtual satellite dishReconfigurable processorMONTIUM TPMPSoC