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Middleware Matters

We just announced today that our partner, Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) successfully ported a complete JTRS radio system, including an APCO P25 waveform, to an Android handset.

In one day.

They were able to do this because the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) uses CORBA as the communications framework. We spent the time and effort to port ORBexpress to the Android platform, so all CRC needed to do was get our ORBexpress for Android software to take care of the detailed communications architecture of the application.

This successful port by CRC shows the power of the SCA, and in particular the power of using a communications framework abstraction like ORBexpress. Moving to new devices, new versions of operating systems, new versions of compilers, etc., becomes easy because we do the hard work for you.

This also brings a new level of capability to the public-safety radio market, which is very price sensitive. CRC's work shows that public-safety radio manufacturers can take advantage of all of the benefits and new capabilities offered by software-defined radios, while keeping costs to a minimum by using commercial off-the-shelf hardware.

We'd love to talk to you more about how using ORBexpress can make your radio development faster, easier and cheaper. Ask us!


We just announced today that our partner Communications Research Centre successfully ported an entire software defined radio, including the core framework and full waveform, to an Android handset.

This SDR was based on the JTRS Software Communications Architecture, which uses CORBA as the communications framework. There's been some talk recently that CORBA might not be suitable for smaller form factor radios. That might be true for a lot of enterprise-type ORBs, that are relatively big, slow and cumbersome. ORBexpress, however, was built from the ground up for hard real-time and embedded systems. We always knew that ORBexpress would be ideal for very small form factor radios, but until we could demonstrate it in practice it just was a difference of opinion.

That's why we are so delighted in what CRC has accomplished. They ported a full core framework, a full waveform (with all the modulation and demodulation, etc., running on the Android platform) and the entire radio in just one day. Because OIS had already done all of the hard work in porting ORBexpress to the Android platform, their port of their SDR application went smoothly and without a hitch.

All of this ran smoothly, with long battery life, on a single core ARM processor. That's right - no DSP, no FPGA, just a GPP. This successful test demonstrates the power of the portability of the SCA. By using a standards-based communications framework like ORBexpress, next generation radios can take advantage of new smaller and lightweight form factors without rewriting their software.

This means new features and new form factors will get to the warfighter faster and more reliably. A win by any measure.


We just announced that ORBexpress now supports Wind River's VxWorks 6.9 with full symmetric multiprocessing capability. A lot of our customers are letting us know that they believe their next projects, or the next generation of their existing projects, will use a multicore processor. All you need to do is look at how smartphones are developing. The current trend is to move to dual-core ARM processors, and there are already quad-core ARM processors available.

In order to keep battery usage and heat down, it makes much more sense to add additional cores without dramatically ramping up the GHz of the processor. That way, you get a lot more MIPS (millions of instructions per second) without eating up battery life. This is one of the many benefits of the relentless march of Moore's Law.

ORBexpress was designed, architected and built from the very beginning to optimize processing distributed over multiple processors. Its native multi-threaded architecture is ideal for multicore applications. This means that software developers using multi-threaded ORBexpress in an application running on a single core processor can reap the benefits of moving to a multicore processor without rewriting their application. They literally need to change only one line of code to enable dramatic performance improvements (assuming that the underlying operating system supports multicore).

Feel free to contact us to learn more about the specific performance improvements that your system might realize in using ORBexpress.


Once again, ORBexpress has been picked as the ORB of choice for advanced, next generation radios and waveforms. We announced today that ITT Electronics Systems chose ORBexpress for its next generation software defined radios.

The JTRS program picked ITT to develop and build the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW). This is an incredibly strategic piece in the US DoD's efforts to build a next generation mobile and adaptive communications network. The SRW will be used in hundreds of thousands of radios built by a lot of different companies. It massively advances the state-of-the-art on a number of different levels, including a two orders of magnitude improvement in throughput as well as dynamic, ad-hoc networking.

ITT also developed and built three different radios conforming to the JTRS radio specfication, the SCA. Their Rifleman Radio is a lightweight body-worn radio that lets Marines that have left their vehicles communicate with each other and their surrounding vehicles (even unmanned vehicles!). Their Soldier Radio lets soldiers do everything from simple push-to-talk communications to networked data communications. Their SideHat radio enables legacy SINCGARS radios to take advantage of these new networks buy adding a JTRS-compliant second channel to the ITT SINCGARS radios that are already used on more than 100 different vehicle platforms.

All of this was done by ITT with a laser-like focus on producing these radios in very small form factors. ITT was able to meet their goal by using the small footprint, high throughput performance of ORBexpress while taking advantage of our quick and responsive support. Kudos to ITT for a job well done (and kudos to our development and support engineers).


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