Fairwaves Opens XYNC Massively-MIMO Software-Defined Radio Crowdfunding Campaign

Offering up to 32x32 MIMO, the XYNC boards bundle as many as 16 Fairwaves XTRX software-defined radios into a very powerful package.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years ago โ€ข Communication / FPGAs

Fairwaves, which last year successfully closed a crowdfunding campaign to build the XTRX embedded software-defined radio (SDR), is back with something a little larger: XYNC, a multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) software-defined radio covering up to 32x32 send and receive channels in a PCI Express add-on board.

The XYNC builds on Fairwaves' earlier Octopack design. (๐Ÿ“ท: Fairwaves)

The design of the XYNC โ€” pronounced, Fairwaves somewhat awkwardly claims, "iks-sync" โ€” is based on the company's earlier Octopack carrier board. Designed to accept up to eight XTRX mini-PCI Express boards to allow for up to 16x16 MIMO in a single slot, the Octopack proved extremely popular among those looking to squeeze as much transmission and reception capability as possible into a small form factor.

The XYNC, then, is effectively an Octopack writ large. Available in six models โ€” Quadro, Quadro Tandem, Octo, and Octo Tandem, with 6GHz reception variants of the Quadro and Quadro Tandem also available - the XYNC family is designed for massive MIMO operation with between 8x8 and 32x32 transmit/receive channels depending on model chosen. While a single board only offers up to eight XTRX modules, like the original Octopack, two boards can operate together in 'tandem' mode.

"A single XYNC comes equipped with four or eight removable XTRX boards, metal installation brackets, cables for all of the TX/RX ports and the GPS port, and a special board for synchronizing the XTRX units. Each onboard XTRX provides two transmit channels and two receive channels. Thus, XYNC Quadro (with four XTRX units) has eight transmit and eight receive channels, and XYNC Octo (with eight XTRX units) has 16 transmit and 16 receive channels. Two XYNC Octo can be synchronized and will give you 32 transmit and 32 receive channels."

The radio modules themselves are Fairwaves' proven XTRX design, which combines a Lime Microsystems LMS7002M field-programmable radio-frequency (FPRF) IC with a Xilinx Artix-7 50T FPGA. Each offers a sampling rate up to 120 megasamples per second, operates from 10MHz to 3.8GHz โ€” receiving up to 6GHz with the optional expanded-spectrum variants โ€” and offers 1.4MHz to 130MHz of bandwidth, reduced to 30MHz for the 6GHz variants.

The campaign is looking to raise $58,000 to produce the XYNC boards, with pricing started at $4,500 for the XYNC Quadro including XTRX modules. At the same time, Fairwaves is also preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the XCOM SDR-focused embedded x86 system.

More information is available on the XYNC Crowd Supply campaign page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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