Pentek Adds VITA 49 Protocol Engine to Cobalt FPGA Boards

Jan. 21, 2016

Upper Saddle River, NJ - January 18, 2016 - HOUSTON, TX-JANUARY 18, 2016 - Pentek, Inc., today announced the newest member of its highly popular Cobalt® family of high-speed data converter XMC FPGA modules: the 4-channel Cobalt Model 71664, is a 200 MHz 16-bit A/D with programmable digital down converter, based on the Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. The Model 71664 is the first Pentek product to include an IP engine for the VITA 49 Radio Transport (VRT) protocol.

"VRT is the future of software defined radio," said Paul Mesibov, Penteks VP of Engineering. "The protocols defined in VRT provide data and context packets that standardize the way information is transported from radio to signal processing equipment. Pentek has invested heavily in supporting the definition of VRT." Pentek is a co-sponsor and key contributor to the VITA 49 standards development effort.


The VITA Radio Transport (VRT) standard defines a transport-layer protocol for data and context packets designed to promote interoperability between RF (radio frequency) receivers and signal processing equipment in a wide range of communication and radar systems. The VRT protocol provides a variety of formatting options that allow the transport layer to be optimized for each application. VRT enables high-precision timestamping to provide time synchronization between multiple receiver channels. Context packets can capture very precise context for each signal, including antennae gain and azimuth, frequency, spatial location, temperature and more.

The VITA 49 specification addresses the problems of interoperability between elements of Software Defined Radio (SDR) systems. Previously, each SDR receiver manufacturer developed custom and proprietary digitized data and meta-data formats, making exchange of data from different receivers challenging. With a common protocol, SDR receivers can be interchanged, enabling hardware upgrades and mitigating hardware lifecycle limitations, without the need to create new software to support each new receiver.

A/D Converter Stage

A front end A/D converter stage accepts four analog HF or IF inputs on front panel SSMC connectors, with each transformer-coupled to Texas Instruments ADS5485 200 MHz, 16-bit A/D converters. The 200 MHz sampling rate handles the needed bandwidth for a wide range of signal processing applications.

Performance IP Cores

The Model 71664 comes preconfigured with a suite of built-in functions for digital down conversion, data capture, synchronization, time tagging, and formatting, making them ideal turn-key interfaces for radar, communications or general data acquisition applications. IP modules for A/D acquisition, DDC, DDR3 or QDRII+ memories, programmable beamforming, controller for data clocking and synchronization, and a VRT protocol engine are all included.

Development Tools and Software Support

Pentek offers both PC and VPX SPARK development systems, so designers can start immediately on application platforms. Created to save engineers and system integrators the time and expense associated with building and testing a system, SPARK ensures optimum performance of Pentek boards.

The Pentek ReadyFlow® Board Support Package is available for Windows and Linux operating systems. ReadyFlow is provided as a C-callable library, a complete suite of initialization, control and status functions, as well as a rich set of precompiled, ready-to-run-examples, to accelerate application development. Extensions to support VITA 49 are included in the BSP.

For systems that require custom functions, IP can be developed using the Pentek GateFlow® FPGA Design Kit, extending or even replacing the factory-installed functions. Software support packages are available for Linux and Windows operating systems.

Form Factors

The Model 71664 is designed for both rugged and lab environments and is available in CompactPCI (Models 3U 73664, 6U 74664), AMC (Model 56664), PCIe (Models 78664) and VPX (Models 3U 53664, 6U 58664)

Pricing and Availability

For the latest pricing, delivery and available options, please fill out this form and your request will be delivered to the appropriate department. To learn more about our products or to discuss your specific application please email our sales department at [email protected], contact your local representative or Pentek directly:

  Mario Schiavone
Sales Director
Pentek, Inc.
One Park Way
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Tel: +1 (201) 818-5900
Fax: +1 (201) 818-5904
[email protected]
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