LONDON ARC International plc, a developer of configurable microprocessor intellectual property (IP), has completed a development system that will extend its browser-based, button-click approach to configurable IP to include Bluetooth hardware and protocol software. ARC calls its system-on-chip development platform Blueform.
The platform debuted this week at the Bluetooth 2001 Congress in Monte Carlo, which marked the transition from the raw demonstration phase to the commercial phase, with approaches that should make it easier for a broad range of customers to design in chips, chip sets and IP for Bluetooth.
"This is the only solution that provides an integrated design environment combining a Bluetooth baseband controller, microprocessor, peripheral IP, tools and application software, all pre-verified to work together," said Ian Anderton, director of business development at ARC Cores.
ARC (Elstree, England) announced its plan to offer Bluetooth capability six months ago at a Bluetooth developers conference in San Jose, Calif. The approach taps baseband circuitry and protocol software licensed from Tality Inc. (San Jose).
"Blueform is not just Bluetooth technology; it's based on the Tangent-A4 [RISC processor] and is fully configurable and extensible," said Anderton. "Customers can quickly build a complete system solution differentiated at the hardware level and enabled for Bluetooth applications ranging from wireless access points to PDAs. There are going to be different markets, so one size will not fit all."
Integration of the Bluetooth functionality is reduced to a point-and-click procedure, ARC claims. The platform includes the required Bluetooth software stacks, a free real-time operating system, application software such as MP3, and a BlueRF-compatible radio interface.
The output from Blueform is register-transfer-level VHDL code that is ready for synthesis with a conventional logic synthesis tool. Ashish Sethi, Bluetoo th product manager at ARC, said a Verilog output option will be added soon. All of the hardware runs on the FPGA-based ARCangel-3 prototyping system and is compatible with the MetaWare software-development suite, which is also included within Blueform.
The processor and Bluetooth hardware IP is supplied as unencrypted source code and typically requires about 64,000 gates. Also included are the Bluetooth v1.1 lower and upper protocol stacks and a range of Bluetooth profiles.
ARC Cores delivers the Bluetooth protocol software and device drivers as C source code, allowing programmers to develop the application software in parallel with the chip design. The ARCangel 3 prototyping system includes a Bluetooth-compliant radio module. Blueform is due to ship this month.