OLPC hardware: what if there was an SDR modem / chipset?

david at lang.hm david at lang.hm
Mon Jan 25 22:19:25 EST 2010

On Mon, 25 Jan 2010, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:

> ok - i'm asking the wrong question :)
> let's assume that somewhere in 2010 an SDR modem exists (from
> someone, doesn't matter who made it).  let's assume that software is
> available (COTS) and is (perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently)
> proprietary and turns on the SDR for specific functions.  let's assume
> also that the specs on the SDR RF side are completely documented,
> publicly available and, importantly, useable by free software (for the
> future, for replacing the COTS firmware).  let's assume that the SDR
> modem and the COTS firmware which actually turns it into WIMAX, 3G,
> GSM, 802.11 etc. is available; let's assume that the SDR modem comes
> with instructions "just plug in this 802.11 antenna here; just plug in
> this Quad-band Penta-band GSM/3G antenna here; just plug in the GPS
> antenna here".
> _if_ all these things were true, _would_ the OLPC hardware design
> team select such a COTS modem and its associated firmware
> (over-and-above the rather dull Marvell 88688 option being deployed
> right now in XO-1)? and if so, who do i need to talk to, to get a
> "yes" from?  (and if not, what _would_ it take for an SDR modem to be
> selected?)

they already ditched the Marvell option that was in the XO-1 for the 
XO-1.5 that's nearing production.

> this last is perhaps the key question.  what's it going to take to
> get an SDR modem into a future XO?

I'm pretty sure that if there is a SDR that's comparibly priced and has 
good linux (and unfortunantly, windows) drivers it would be a strong 
candidate for a future XO. they have always been interested in using open 
hardware (with the Marvell, they were promised open firmware, but it was 
never delivered).

David Lang

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