RISC-V Summit 2020

RISC-V in 5G New Radio Small Cell Base Stations
Presented by Picocom President, Peter Claydon and Mentor Fellow, Gajinder Panesar.

Wednesday 9 December, 1:30pm – 1:50pm PST (Pacific Standard Time, GMT-8). RISC-V Summit Hardware Cores / SoCs session.

Please visit the event website for more information and to register your place, using the code ‘MENTOR’ to receive a 25% partner discount.

Presentation Summary

RISC-V in 5G New Radio Small Cell Base Stations

Modern cellular communications use the Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) air interface. In such a system, data is transmitted in symbols which are grouped in slots. In 5G these slots can range from 0.25 and 0.125 ms. The scheduling of the traffic carried in these slots is done by the MAC layer. It schedules traffic to the network (uplink) as well from the network to the User (downlink).

Efficient 5G base stations are being designed and deployed to handle not just many, many users supporting many 5G cells but even have support for several separate mobile operators. Each operator may require its own software.

The physical layer (PHY) must process the data (both control and user) passed to it by the MAC to fill in the slots and symbols for transmission and reception. If the PHY fails to meet the strict timing constraints whole slots of data will be lost requiring recovery mechanisms.

In this presentation, we present a heterogeneous SoC which implements a 5G NR small cell base station using clusters of RISCVs and dedicated DSPs. Each of the RISCVs will be running the Zephyr OS. The talk will also show how the strict timing constraints are continuously monitored non-intrusively and how embedded analytics provides useful insights into the behaviour of the base station.

Key Takeaways

  • Complexities of 5G physical layer described
  • Picocom Open RAN SoC explained
  • Embedded analytics


With special thanks to our partner Mentor Tessent Embedded Analytics for enabling the sharing of the event discount code.