STMicroelectronics has developed a low-power SoC for interactive satellite terminals.

STiD337 represents a big step down in the overall cost of interactive satellite terminals, according to STMicroeletronics. The STiD337’s first adoption is in Eutelsat Communications’ SmartLNB, allowing the satellite operator to upgrade its service and reduce power consumption while also lowering the cost.

The SmartLNB is an electronic feed that replaces the traditional Ku-band reception of DTH satellite signals, embedding one or more satellite tuners/demodulators directly inside the LNB (low-noise block) and adding a narrowband return link optimised for transmissions of IP packets. The SmartLNB enables a wide range of connected TV applications, providing a transparent bidirectional IP link compatible with existing services. Not limited to the TV and broadcast market, applications also cover the sector of connected objects (machine-to-machine, IoT, SCADA, home-automation, smart buildings, etc.) with a cost-effective solution via satellite.

ST's 28nm FD-SOI process technology allows STiD337 to have maximum 3.5W power dissipation at full speed and less than 50mW (typical) during sleep.

The STiD337 adds the latest DVB-S2X satellite standard for the forward link, as well as GSE (Generic Stream Encapsulation) for efficient data handling; it can achieve throughput of over 100Mb/sec. The return path implements a software-radio approach that is optimised for the enhanced spread-spectrum technique with asynchronous access typically used for the SmartLNB. The device also includes the full complement of hardware mechanisms to support real-time multiple-access techniques. The return modulation is calculated on the internal processors. The platform includes a dual ARM® Cortex-A9 core with NEONTM co-processors and four ST231 DSP offload coprocessors to enhance its compute power and ensure complete flexibility in the choice of return-channel modulation type.

The new SoC will be available in secure and standard versions. The secure version includes pre-loaded encryption keys, serial numbers and safe boot, among other things.

ST provides a hardware evaluation platform, a Linux-based operating system, and a basic driver set. Final production samples of the STiD337 are available now and full production is scheduled for May 2017.