GCT GDM7243SL is a dual-core RISC-V 5G/4G LTE modem with support for NTN, NB-IoT, LTE Cat M, Cat1bis, Cat1 and/or Cat4

CT Semiconductor Holding GDM7243SL is a multi-mode 5G/4G LTE IoT modem with two 400 MHz RISC-V cores capable of operating in Cat 4, Cat 1bis, Cat M1, Cat NB1/NB2 (NB-IoT) and non-terrestrial networks (NTN) in order to work anywhere on earth.

If I remember correctly, one of the first commercial RISC-V SoCs I saw was a storage controller from Western Digital introduced in 2019. But since then, we’ve seen more and more RISC-V chips come to market from entry-level microcontrollers up to Linux-capable application processors, and even chips for datacenters that are out of the scope of topics covered on CNX Software. But with GDM7243SL, I think it’s the first time I’ve encountered a RISC-V modem, so let’s have a closer look.

GDM7243SL2 block diagram
GDM7243SL2 block diagram

There are two models, the GDM7243SL1 and GDM7243SL2, with different memory and storage options, and the L1 lacks support for LTE Cat 4.

GDM7243SL key features:

  • CPU
    • 400 MHz RISC-V application core running Linux, OpenWRT, PRPL, or Zephyr
    • 400 MHz RISC-V modem firmware/RTOS core
  • Storage and Memory
    • GDM7243SL1 – 16MB p-SRAM, 16MB s-Flash
    • GDM7243SL2 – 128MB LPDDR2, NAND flash interface
  • 5G/4G LTE Modem
      • 2×2/4×2 MIMO
      • LTE Cat 1, Cat 1 bisGDM7243SL2 also adds Cat 4 support
      • VoLTE
    • H-FDD, FDD, TDD (3GPP E-UTRA Rel17)
      • LTE Cat M1 (eMTC)
      • LTE Cat-NB1 (NB-IoT)
      • NTN Satellite communication
    • Frequency ranges
      • Low band RF – 380 to 950 MHz
      • Mid band RF – 1.4 to 2.2 GHz
      • High band RF – 1.7 to 2.7 GHz
      • Ultra high band RF – 3.3 to 3.8GHz
    • eDRX/PSM Support
    • Compatible with CBRS spectrum.
  • Interfaces
    • Storage – SD Host
    • Display – MIPI DSI
    • Audio – I2C/PCM
    • Networking – RGMII (GbE)
    • 2x USIM for cellular connectivity
    • USB – USB 2.0, USB Host
    • Serial – CAN Bus
    • Low-speed I/Os – SPI, UART, I2C
  • Security
    • Secure boot
    • Security engine
    • 4K OTP ROM
GDM7243SL1 block diagram
GDM7243SL1 block diagram

The company highlights support for 450 MHz for device deployments in private, mission-critical infrastructure, and public utility networks worldwide, with the wide range of supported 3GPP standards enabling global coverage over land, sea, and air.

Typical applications for the GCT RISC-V modem include SOS and two-way messaging for smartphones, wearables and automotive, Smart Agriculture, asset tracking, disaster response and recovery solutions, remote monitoring of equipment such as oil rigs or weather stations, vessel tracking, environmental monitoring in remote areas, automotive safety and emergency calls.

The GDM7243SL 5G/4G IoT modem samples should become available in Q4 2024. Additional information may be found in the flyer on the product page and in the press release.

Via EENews Europe

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