Lime Microsystems are working with SiFive to build an open wireless base station featuring the former’s field-programmable radio frequency (FPRF) IC and the latter’s RISC-V processor technology.

Building on the existing LimeNET platform, which pairs the open LimeSDR software defined radio with x86 host hardware, the prototype design replaces the latter with a HiFive Unleashed multi-core 64-bit  RISC-V board and a Xilinx VC707 FPGA development board. The result: a software-defined wireless base station featuring a baseband processor which can benefit from custom hardware accelerators to meet demanding requirements.

“The project is to establish the foundations for a radically open wireless base station architecture with unprecedented flexibility. The combination creates a platform where wireless systems are implemented via software-defined radio, with the ability for custom hardware accelerators to be integrated in FPGA, before progressing to a customised ASIC once their design has been validated,” explains AB Open’s Andrew Back, who has been working as a member of the LimeNET team on the project.

“This fundamental flexibility across both baseband processing and RF will make it possible to bring high-performance radio access network solutions – e.g., for LTE, NB-IoT, and 5G – to market far quicker than ever before and at greatly reduced cost.”

More information, and a demonstration of the prototype’s capabilities, can be found on the LimeNET Crowd Supply campaign page.