CHICAGO Telecom application development for digital signal processors (DSPs) took a step forward this week as companies announced shrink-wrapped tools and newly opened platforms at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco.
LSI Logic Corp. (Milpitas, Calif.) demonstrated its ZOpen software framework for ZSP open architecture development. The rollout effectively completes the company's ZSP strategy by complementing its open DSP core architecture. By providing an open, easy-to-use platform with standardization features, LSI expects to simplify and accelerate software development around its ZSP DSP core.
"Companies such as Texas Instruments and Analog Devices have an open software architecture, but based around a proprietary DSP architecture," said Tuan Dao, director of LSI Logic's Advanced DSP Products Group. "The ZSP is available from multiple licensees, including Broadcom, Brecis, Virata and, more recently, IBM and Conexant. Tier-1 customers need multiple sources."
Dao described ZOpen as an open-architecture platform for applications development. It provides hardware abstraction at a level that relieves an OEM system integrator from worrying about the details of underlying hardware.
"To date, customers have been pretty much going their own way with software development, but that's quite a chore," said Dao. "We're offering a standardized environment with a standardized API, so they can mix and match algorithms in plug-and-play fashion."
The motive, he said, is that the bulk of DSP development is in the software. "Whatever the vendor doesn't have to do, the customer has to do. So, this is one more step in our drive to reduce the customers' development life cycle and with the scarcity of developer talent, this is crucial."
The platform is supported by the company's Solutions Partner Program, which includes both applications software companies and EDA development-tool suppliers. The four applications developers alr eady in the program are Hellosoft, Epsico Ltd., Nuntius Systems Inc. and Vocal Technologies Inc.
A key feature of the platform is its flexibility in terms of real-time operating systems. Enea OSE and Micrium MicroCOS2 have already been ported to the system.
One of the original founders of ZSP, Krishna Yarlagadda, appeared at ESC this week as president and chief executive officer of Hellosoft (Campbell, Calif.), which was spun out of ZSP's original software development group. Yarlagadda showed off HelloVoice, a scalable voice-over-packet (VoP) solution that is the shrink-wrapped result of two to three years of VoP software development. Hellosoft used ESC as the coming-out party for its voice software, supporting the announcement with the release of VoiceOS, a scalable, system-level framework for applications development that is being ported to carrier-class voice gateways.
"One of the problems designers are facing is that after going their own way with voice software development, they're finding themselves painted into a corner without an upgrade path," Yarlagadda said. "HelloVoice avoids this."
Along with providing additions at the network layer, the solution installs in anything from Internet Protocol (IP) phones to customer premises equipment to central-office IP gateways. "We support ZSP, Carmel, BOPS, TI and now Frio," said Yarlagadda. "However, we're also offering what we call SoftVoice which is essentially a porting of our software to processors such as MIPS, PowerPC and ARM to support one- or two-channel applications such as IP phones, games, DSL modems and set-top boxes."
Yarlagadda put the processing toll for one channel at about 30 to 35 Mips.