Archive for May, 2011
Qualcomm Atheros AR9004TB Solution Adds
In-room 5 Gbps Performance to Industry Leading Wi-Fi Technology
TAIPEI, Taiwan and SAN JOSE, Calif. — May 31, 2011 — Qualcomm Atheros Inc., the networking and connectivity subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Wilocity, today announced the AR9004TB, the industry’s first tri-band Wi-Fi chipset that integrates the multi-gigabit performance of in-room 60 GHz band with seamless handoff to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band Wi-Fi. The new AR9004TB solution is the first chipset capable of supporting a wide range of applications, from I/O to video to networking, at the same speeds as equivalent wired connectivity technologies, while maintaining whole home coverage and complete interoperability.
AR9004TB is a significant step forward in delivering the most seamless, high-performance wireless networking connectivity. By using a fully standards-compliant and interoperable approach, Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity can help device makers deliver more than 10 times greater speed in Wi-Fi performance, resulting in faster data and video transfers between devices. These enhancements will help power even more advanced devices, applications and experiences, from gaming to video streaming, smart synchronization and wireless docking. New fast session transfer technology in the AR9004TB will drive a seamless transition between multi-gigabit in-room performance to whole home and enterprise wireless coverage.
“The new AR9004TB solution strengthens and expands our industry-leading portfolio of wireless and wired connectivity technologies for consumer and enterprise devices,” said Amir Faintuch, senior vice president and general manager, consumer business unit, Qualcomm Atheros. “By incorporating 60 GHz multi-gigabit transfer with proven 802.11n Wi-Fi technologies, Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity are creating an even more valuable offering for customers looking to expand their presence in the market. AR9004TB will allow users to enjoy new generations of rich applications in the home and at work while also helping keep their devices and information fully synchronized.”
“As the promise of multi-gigabit wireless technology becomes reality, Wilocity is proud to take its place, with Qualcomm Atheros, at the head of the long line of future WiGig and draft 802.11ad products that will follow,” said Mark Grodzinsky, vice president of marketing, Wilocity. “The AR9004TB solution is the first to offer multi-gigabit Wi-Fi and wireless bus extension, coupled with dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for a truly wireless experience for a wide range of applications from I/O to networking to video. For the first time, the fastest way to access data from products that implement this groundbreaking technology will be wireless.”
The AR9004TB solution is the first tri-band Wi-Fi chipset to integrate support for 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 60 GHz bands. As such, it is the first chipset to bring standards-based, multi-gigabit wireless networking to the market, integrating 802.11n and WiGig/802.11ad technologies in the same form factor. Consumers utilizing devices based on this technology will enjoy 802.11n Wi-Fi for whole home connectivity along with 802.11ad for networked synchronization of HD movies in seconds (versus tens of minutes), I/O connection to USB3/SATA hard drives, instant “sync and go” between mobile platforms, streaming display to projectors/TVs/monitors, and high-performance wireless docking.
The 60 GHz technology found in AR9004TB is based on the latest specifications from the Wireless Gigabit Alliance and IEEE 802.11ad and will be Wi-Fi Alliance certified. The AR9004TB also supports the latest Bluetooth 4.0 specification, which includes both high-speed and low-energy operation to extend personal area connectivity to a variety of devices. It includes a new message-based coexistence interface that allows superior interference avoidance and cancellation for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth coexistence.
Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity will be demonstrating the AR9004TB tri-band Wi-Fi solution in Taipei, Taiwan in conjunction with the COMPUTEX TAIPEI trade show, with product sampling expected to begin in summer 2011.
Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including the features, benefits and performance of Qualcomm Atheros’ and Wilocity’s products and technologies, including the AR9004TB chipset, the expected sampling of the AR9004TB beginning in summer 2011, and the anticipated growth of the multi-gigabit wireless market, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including, but not limited to, difficulties in the development of new and enhanced products, general economic conditions, the effects of competition and technological change, and the risks detailed in Qualcomm Atheros’ (formerly Atheros Communications, Inc.) Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, as amended, and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 , as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in other reports filed with the SEC by Qualcomm Incorporated from time to time.
Turnkey Energy Harvesting Reference Design Enables Industry’s Most Power-Efficient Wireless Sensor Node Applications
AUSTIN, Texas – May 25, 2011 –Silicon Laboratories Inc. today introduced the industry’s most energy-efficient wireless sensor node solution powered by a solar energy harvesting source. The new turnkey energy harvesting reference design enables developers to implement self-sustaining, ultra-low-power wireless sensor networks for home and building automation, security systems, industrial control applications, medical monitoring devices, asset tracking systems and infrastructure and agricultural monitoring systems.
The market for energy harvesting devices is poised to grow exponentially this decade. IDTechEx forecasts that more than ten billion energy harvesting devices will ship by 2019 – a 20x increase over the roughly 500 million units that shipped in 2009. Although systems powered by harvested energy sources have existed for many years, developers have been challenged to implement wireless sensor nodes within very low power budgets. Silicon Labs has met this design challenge by creating a wireless energy harvesting system based on its Si10xx wireless microcontroller (MCU) family, the industry’s most power-efficient, single-chip MCU and wireless transceiver solution, which can perform control and wireless interface functions at ultra-low power levels.
In addition to being environmentally friendly and virtually inexhaustible, harvested energy provides a cost-effective, convenient alternative to batteries in many applications such as wireless networking systems. Batteries can be costly and inconvenient to replace, especially in large-scale wireless sensor node applications, and they are unreliable in extreme temperature conditions. Wireless sensor nodes often use batteries because they are placed in locations where it is not possible or convenient to run mains power. Energy harvesting simplifies these applications by eliminating the inconvenience of replacing batteries in inaccessible locations, while also reducing the quantity of depleted batteries for recycling or dumped in landfills.
Silicon Labs’ comprehensive energy harvesting reference design includes wireless network and USB software and a complete circuit design with RF layout, bill of materials (BOM), schematics and Gerber files. The design consists of three components:
- A solar-powered wireless sensor node that measures temperature, light level and charge level, using an Si10xx wireless MCU to control the sensor system and transmit data wirelessly and a thin-film battery to store harvested energy.
- A wireless USB adapter that connects the wireless sensor node to a PC for displaying sensor data; the adapter features Silicon Labs’ Si4431 EZRadioPRO transceiver with an MCU running USB-HID class software and EZMac wireless software stack.
- A wireless sensor network GUI that displays data from up to four sensor nodes.
The thin film battery used in the energy harvesting reference design has a capacity of 0.7 mAh. In direct sunlight, the battery can be recharged fully in only two hours. While in sleep mode, the wireless sensor node will retain a charge for 7,000 hours. If the wireless system is transmitting continuously, it will operate non-stop for about three hours, although it is designed to constantly recharge itself at an appropriate level to keep the thin-film battery from completely discharging.
“As part of our global commitment to green technology, Silicon Labs has advanced the use of energy harvesting technology to free wireless networking systems from the cost, inconvenience and negative environmental impact of conventional batteries,” said Mark Thompson, vice president of Silicon Labs’ Embedded Mixed-Signal products. “By combining ultra-low-power wireless MCU technology with a state-of-the-art energy harvesting system, Silicon Labs has delivered the industry’s most energy-efficient, self-sustaining wireless networking solution.”
Silicon Labs’ energy harvesting reference design accommodates a wide range of harvested energy sources. An on-board bypass connector gives developers the flexibility to bypass the solar cell and tap other energy harvesting sources such as vibration (piezoelectric), thermal and RF.
Pricing and Availability
Silicon Labs energy harvesting reference design is available now and priced at $45 (USD). For more information, please visit www.silabs.com/pr/energyharvesting. For more details about Silicon Labs’ Si10xx wireless MCU family, visit www.silabs.com/pr/wirelessmcu.
Maxi-Fi BEAM450 chipsets achieve industry leading 802.11n performance with advanced features like MIMO ML decoding, transmit beamforming and simultaneous dual-band
San Jose, CA – May 23, 2011 - Redpine Signals, Inc., a leading developer of ultra low power and high-performance multi-standard wireless chipsets and systems, today announced the launch of its Maxi-Fi BEAM450 suite of highly integrated semiconductor products conforming to the 802.11n standard. The Maxi-Fi BEAM450 family is the industry’s first MIMO chipset to support “software configurable simultaneous dual-band.” This patent pending feature enables the system integrators to re-configure the MIMO chipset on-the-fly from a 3-Spatial Stream 450Mbps 3×3 system (working in either 2.4GHz or 5GHz ISM bands) into a simultaneous dual-band system with 150Mbps in one band and 300Mbps in the other band.
Simultaneous dual-band enables robust QoS provisioning for demanding video applications in crowded wireless environments, and significantly, the Maxi-Fi BEAM450 provides this at zero cost and power overhead to the system. The new Maxi-Fi products include the RS9330 802.11n Baseband chip interfacing to either the RS8330 (Dual-band MIMO Radio chip) or the RS8331 (Dual-band MIMO Radio chip with built-in high power-amplifiers). The Maxi-Fi BEAM450 chipsets complement Redpine Signals’ highly successful ultra-low power 802.11n Lite-Fi device family.
Redpine also provides TURBO900 and TURBO1350 reference designs, which use two or three RS9330 chips respectively. These designs provide physical layer throughputs of 900Mbps and 1.35Gbps on a “single” PCI-e host interface, thus addressing the performance requirements of today’s most demanding wireless video applications.
With CMOS integration of a high performance MAC, baseband processor, analog front-end, crystal oscillator, calibration EEPROM, balun, dual-band RF transceiver and dual-band high-power amplifiers (RS8331 only), the Maxi-Fi BEAM450 products are cost-effective solutions targeting high throughput and high QoS wireless applications such as HD video streaming, storage devices, wireless routers, broadband access modems, televisions, access points, and set-top boxes. The Maxi-Fi BEAM450 chipset maintains over 300Mbps of TCP data throughput on various host platforms and runs on the 802.11n MAC on a powerful SoC based on Redpine’s proprietary four-threaded processor (ThreadArch) with very low-host overhead.
The Maxi-Fi BEAM450 chipset is accompanied by Redpine’s OneBox software framework with DirectLINQ. OneBox supports Access Point, Station and Wi-Fi Direct functionality on a variety of host platforms and operating systems including Linux and Windows families. Redpine also offers form-factor PCI-e and USB2.0 reference designs and software for manufacture testing and diagnostics, minimizing effort and time-to-market in the building of complete systems.
The Maxi-Fi BEAM450 chipsets will be sampling in Q3-2011, with volume shipment scheduled for Q1-2012.
Guest blog by Dr. Harry Zervos, Technical Analyst, IDTechEx
Energy harvesters deserve the attention they’re receiving, the advent of what can be made possible through the use of ambient energy to power devices has intrigued a wide variety of technologists, developers and adopters.
IDTechEx follows developments worldwide and helps recognize potential hurdles, challenges and requirements that will increase adoption of energy harvesting and lead to further penetration of sustainable energy technologies.
Roadside/vehicle infrastructure sensing
IDTechEx technology analyst Dr Harry Zervos recently met with Dr Roger Hazelden, technology leader on sensors and optoelectronics at TRW Conekt.
Although TRW is mainly involved with components and systems for the automotive industry, the company’s involvement in the energy harvesting space takes a step back and doesn’t limit itself to vehicle applications for harvesters. Therefore, roadside infrastructure sensors are researched at TRW, aimed at monitoring traffic, potential accident hazards, accidents and its effects on roads, etc. The Swiss branch of TRW is also researching and developing its own thermoelectric generator.
It is interesting to point out that TRW is one of the world’s leading suppliers of tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) but instead of using energy harvesters for those (which could cost several tens of Euros), 60 cent batteries are utilized and perform adequately. According to Dr Hazelden, cost is a major driver in applications such as TPMS’s where the use of batteries is not regulated; a low cost coin cell will always be preferred over an expensive energy harvester. Energy harvesters would make a lot more sense in applications where there are restrictions on the use of batteries (e.g. aerospace), in which case they would be part of the necessary enabling technologies that would make wireless sensing/monitoring a reality.
At an energy harvesting workshop on the 4 May, Kenichi Soga, Professor of Civil Engineering from the University of Cambridge gave insight on the use of monitoring for structures that were built in the past with a “let’s build them and see how long they last…” approach. Several of these structures are by now a few decades old and pose potential risks if their integrity is compromised over time. A very interesting example of use of integrity sensors in a project was during some work undertaken for the London Underground, making sure that tunnel tiles did not shift or move, leading to width changes that could be detrimental to passing trains or even fears of collapse. Again, interestingly, batteries were used for these sensors, provided by Tadiran technology. At a cost of about £40 for the battery and £200 for the whole sensor, batteries were considered, the best, most reliable option, with a lifetime of approximately 2 years, and the sensor taking measurements at a rate of 1 measurement/minute.
High costs for energy harvesters, reliability of new technologies when compared with established ones, advances in existing competing technologies (such as batteries and supercapacitors) as well as convincing potential customers of the advantages offered by new technologies as well as identifying the correct harvesting solution for the correct application tend to be recurrent challenges for the energy harvesting sensor.
It is not always easy to compete on the merits and added benefits of new devices, especially when an additional cost accompanies them. Initial costs of ownership and infrastructure necessary can add to the scepticism towards adopting innovative solutions. What tends to be important in efforts to alleviate scepticism is the use of proven solutions as examples that can convince of the real value behind the initial installation expenses. EnOcean’s implementations are a great example of this and that can be seen from the large numbers of customers that have adopted the company’s solutions (over 160,000 buildings are currently using EnOcean products, from wireless light switches to occupancy sensors and sensor networks for both building and industrial facilities). Such successful implementations raise the profile of energy harvesting technologies and increase awareness of potential users and the interest in finding elegant solutions to problems that cannot be solved without energy harvesting.
For more information, don’t miss the IDTechEx Energy Harvesting & Storage and Wireless Sensor Networks & RTLS Europe 2011 conference in Munich on 21-22 June where adopters and technologists will have the ability to share challenges, requirements and solutions. For more information visit www.idtechex.com/munich.
Analog Devices’ AD9146 TxDAC D/A converter features low noise and industry’s fastest 1.2-GBPS data rate in a 7mm x 7mm LFCSP package.
NORWOOD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Analog Devices, Inc.(ADI) today introduced a 16-bit D/A converter for wired and wireless communication systems that features the industry’s best combination of package size, speed and low noise. The latest member of ADI’s TxDAC data converter portfolio, the 16-bit AD9146 D/A converter achieves an industry leading data throughput rate of 1.2 GSPS (gigabits per second) and a low-noise specification of -164 dBm/Hz, in a 7 mm x 7 mm LFCSP package. The AD9146 D/A converter also integrates an 8-bit LVDS (low-voltage differential signaling) interface and low-noise PLL (phase-locked loop) clock multiplier, which allow design engineers to implement up to six transmit channels using half the PCB space previously required.
The AD9146 features 2x and 4x interpolators with fine NCO (numerically-controlled oscillator) modulation that enables baseband signals to be placed anywhere in the D/A converter bandwidth to ease design engineers’ system frequency planning. The low noise figure and an IMD (inter-modulation distortion) of 81 dBc at 100 MHz help this component to achieve a superior ACLR (adjacent-channel leakage ratio) of 82 dBc at 122 MHz IF for W-CDMA single-channel applications.
AD9146 16-bit D/A Converter with 8-bit LVDS Key Features:
- Flexible LVDS interface allows byte or nibble load
- Single-carrier W-CDMA ACLR = 82 dBc @ 122.88-MHz IF
- Analog output: adjustable 8.7 mA to 31.7 mA, RL = 25 Ω to 50 Ω
- Gain and phase adjustment for sideband suppression
- Multiple chip synchronization interfaces
Availability, Pricing and Complementary Components
|Product||Sample Availability||Full Volume Production||Price Each
|AD9146||Now||April 2011||$29.95||7 mm x 7 mm
The AD9146 can be designed into circuits for communications applications with ADI’s ADRF6701 750 MHz to 1160 MHz quadrature modulator and ADL5371 500 MHz to 1500 quadrature modulator.
Guest Blog by Will Strauss, President & Principal Analyst, Forward Concepts
Why Apple Cannot Ship an LTE iPhone in 2011
Tim Cook, Apple’s Acting Chief Executive, has stated that “early generation LTE chips would require too many compromises in design,” and that has been interpreted as indicating that a 4G-enabled Verizon iPhone won’t be with us anytime soon. But, considering that LTE baseband chips suitable for a top Smartphone or 4G tablet for any vendor are limited, Mr. Cook’s remarks are understandable. Here is my current list of LTE baseband chips and their likely availability:
- Altair: FourGee-3100 undergoing field trials.
- Broadcom (via Beceem acquisition): Announced, likely sampling Q1/2012
- Cavium Networks (via WaveSat acquisition): Odyssey Single-mode LTE chip is sampling.
- Intel/Infineon (via Blue Wonder acquisition): Expect to sample LTE in Q3/2011
- MediaTek (LTE licensed from DoCoMo): Product sampling likely Q1/2012 for TD-LTE, Also licensed Coresonic’s LTE baseband IP.
- NTT DoCoMo LTE Licensees: Fujitsu, Panasonic & Renesas (based on Tensilica DSP cores); Now in Japan field trials.
- Qualcomm: MDM9600 shipping in HTC Thunderbolt (see below), but MDM9625 and MDM9225 Sampling Q4/2011
- Renesas Mobile Corp.: The (SP2531) is based on a Nokia-originated (non-TI DSP) design. It supports TD-LTE and FDD-LTE cat 3 with HSPA+ and now sampling.
- Samsung Semiconductor: Shipping in both dongles (TeliaSonera in Sweden) and handsets (See below)
- Sequans: WiMAX chip house, working with Alcatel-Lucent. TD-LTE dongle modems (SQN3000 series) shipped in small quantities in May 2010.
- ST-Ericsson: Thor M7400 LTE/HSPA+ modem will be sampling in Q2/2011.
Since Qualcomm is currently shipping an LTE baseband (the MDM9600, which also handles dual-carrier HSPA+) in the HTC Thunderbolt, one might assume that would be a logical choice for Apple. The Thunderbolt also sports the Snapdragon MSM8655, which is a combo application processor and CDMA-1xEV-DO modem. Consequently, like the Samsung Craft (see below) there are two separate basebands in the handset. The HSPA+ capability also in the MDM9600 appears to be extraneous in a Verizon (CDMA) phone. This may be a clue to the very short battery life of the Thunderbolt that is a major complaint by users. Since the MDM9600 is Gobi™-enabled, one wonders if that chip was designed initially for tablets or laptops where power consumption is less of a concern with their bigger batteries. Since Apple will undoubtedly use its A5 application processor in their upcoming LTE iPhone, they have no interest in employing Snapdragon, so they must wait for a more attractive LTE/3G/2G baseband solution.
Note that last week, Verizon’s LTE network was down for a while in some parts of the U.S. and HTC Thunderbolt users found that their handsets defaulted to CDMA-1x (1xRTT) rather than 3G (CDMA-1xEV-DO Rev A). Although there’s a temporary manual “fix” for the handset to operate on the 3G network, the change has to be undone when LTE service resumes. The default to 1xRTT is not necessarily the fault of Qualcomm’s dual-baseband approach, rather that of Verizon’s eHPRD (evolved High Packet Rate Data), a method for CDMA networks to migrate over several years to LTE. GSM/UMTS networks have a natural evolution path to the all-IP LTE networks, but CDMA networks don’t have that luxury.
Samsung Craft & Galaxy Indulge: Not True LTE Handsets
What’s a “true” LTE handset? In my mind, it should be one that really is superior to HSPA+ and/or CDMA-1xEV-DO Rev B, employing unified and seamless 4G/3G/2G baseband capabilities. The Samsung Craft, launched in mid-September 2010 was touted as “the world’s first commercially available 4G LTE handset.” That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. The Craft was based on a first-generation Samsung LTE baseband that was probably the same one designed for the USB dongles that were deployed by TeliaSonera in Sweden for the world’s first LTE network. But the Craft LTE, designed for MetroPCS has no voice over LTE capability and to add voice (and ability to switch to CDMA-1xRTT when it was not near an LTE base station) a Qualcomm CDMA baseband was also in the handset; clearly not a unified solution. MetroPCS’ licensed spectrum for the initial launch in Las Vegas was only 5MHz, limiting download speeds to about 1Mbps. The Samsung Galaxy Indulge, released in February, has the praiseworthy Samsung “Hummingbird” 1GHz application processor and a nice display, but likely uses the same pair of baseband chips.
Next Verizon iPhone will have GSM Capability
The next version of the Verizon Wireless iPhone will be a global device, according to the company’s financial chief. That, of course, implies a capability for GSM/WCDMA and perhaps HSPA in addition to CDMA-1xEV-DO Rev A (or B). The only baseband vendor that can currently supply such a solution is Qualcomm. With the Verizon GSM capability, AT&T Mobility will no longer be able to tout their iPhones as being the only ones that can connect (mostly) worldwide. So, maybe this will mollify those waiting for the next Verizon iPhone to be LTE capable, and give Apple some breathing time to better perfect a follow-on LTE product.
But, HTC’s new Droid Incredible 2 running Android 2.2 for Verizon also has a 3G global capability (employing a Qualcomm Snapdragon solution), but it will be shipping later this month, perhaps taking some advance wind out of the sails of Verizon’s next iPhone.
ON Semiconductor Sprouts DSP Capability
On Semiconductor, has made 9 acquisitions since 2006, each time expanding its product portfolio. The company is introducing a number of new products this year, and one that deserves attention in the cellphone and tablet market is BelaSigna™ R261 a noise-cancellation chip based on a very-low-power DSP engine from its earlier AMI Semiconductor acquisition. Unlike other noise-cancellation solutions that I’ve seen, this one does not rely on placement of an ambient noise detection microphone that’s as far away from the user’s microphone as possible (often one on front and one on back of the handset). The BelaSigna solution can have both microphones facing the speech source from 10mm to 30mm apart (even on the same side of the cellphone) and the person speaking can be near the handset or up to 2 meters or so away for hands-free operation (supporting close-talk or far-talk scenarios). The approach allows the use of cheap unmatched omni-directional microphones and is independent of microphone aging. The unique DSP algorithm can effectively sort out the user’s voice from the ambient noise.
As always, I invite your comments.