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The Sidekiq VPX410 Enables Signals of Interest in X & Ku Bands

Wyatt Taylor

12/13/22

Many traditional wireless signals of interest exist below 6GHz: GPS, 3G/4G, legacy WiFi, L-band and S-band SATCOM, radar, and many more. But as that spectrum has become more congested — and the need for wider instantaneous bandwidth has increased — more and more wireless applications are moving to higher frequencies of operation. To date, the Epiq Solutions SDR product line has mirrored this trend in the wireless industry, with products like the Sidekiq X4 and VPX400 focused on sub-6GHz applications.

However, in response to the growing need for applications to push above 6GHz, Epiq has met the demand with the newly announced VPX410 operating to 18GHz.

What's Above 6GHz?

There are many civilian and defense radio applications that have existed or are moving to frequencies above 6GHz. The slide below was presented at the 2022 GRCon:

Looking into those a little more deeply:

Radar: The capability of radar can essentially be distilled into two key attributes: range of detection and cross-section of detection. Lower frequencies propagate longer distances, and for long-range air traffic control or surveillance, operating in L and S-bands provides an optimized frequency. However, the emerging threat is coming from smaller targets, such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that offer a greatly reduced cross-section for radar return. Moving to a wider instantaneous bandwidth enables the detection of small cross-sections, and this is more easily done at higher RF frequencies. Additionally, the sub-6GHz spectrum is very congested, resulting in significant radar clutter when operating near a civilian environment.

Satellite Communications (SATCOM): Historically, SATCOM waveforms were fairly low throughput networks. In the emerging low earth orbit (LEO) era, however, SATCOM applications are transitioning towards moving payloads like HD video, mapping and digital communications. Moving to higher frequencies enables these applications by making it easier to achieve wider fractional bandwidths and avoid interference.

WiFi / 5G: Recent updates to both WiFi and cellular standards are moving to higher frequencies, for many of the same reasons as the previously detailed applications. The 5G FR2 band extends beyond many other applications and is moving as high as 71GHz.

The Sidekiq VPX410

The VPX410 is an extension of Epiq's VPX400, which provides high-performance digitization and waveform generation up to 6GHz. The VPX410 is an RF tuner that block converts signals from 6 to 18GHz into a frequency band where the VPX400 can operate. The VPX410 contains four integrated receivers and one integrated transmitter, each with 1GHz of instantaneous bandwidth, to provide unrivaled channel density in a 3U VPX form factor.

The receive channels can be operated coherently to perform beamforming or direction-finding applications on the signals of interest or can operate independently, receiving up to 4GHz of aggregate spectrum across the 18GHz input range.

The VPX410 is ideally suited for accessing signals up to 18GHz in applications that require alignment to open architectures, such as CMOSS/SOSA/MORA, as well as those which would benefit from a high-density, low power-per-channel solution.

To learn more about the VPX410 and above 6GHZ communication capabilities, visit https://epiqsolutions.com/rf-transceiver/sidekiq-vpx410/.

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