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Cypress chip tackles Bluetooth, lowers latencies

Posted: 16 Dec 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cypress semiconductor corp.? cy694x wirelessusb? bluetooth? human interface devices?

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. will stake out turf in wireless human-interface devices and gaming consoles with their announcement of the CY694X WirelessUSB chip. With a target price of less than $3.50 and operating in the 2.45GHz band, the chip is going up against more established technologies such as Bluetooth and 27/433/900MHz devices for wireless keyboard and mouse applications.

Cypress believes its latency of less than 8ms (with four nodes) will give the chip an edge in wireless gaming. "The gaming community has repeatedly demanded latencies of under 30ms - we're way under that," said Norm Taffe, managing director of the wireless business unit. "We can guarantee 20ms across seven nodes."

Given the globally fractured nature of the human-interface-device and gaming markets, with 27MHz, 433MHz, and 900MHz devices in play in different locales, Taffe pointed to the unifying potential for the chip. Operation at 2.45GHz is allowed by governments everywhere, so the chip cuts across geopolitical borders.

Similar in many ways to Bluetooth, the CY694X uses a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum scheme with 1,600hops/second over 79 channels in a 1MHz band. Unlike Bluetooth, it uses 2 FSK modulation [vs. Gaussian-filtered minimum shift-keying (GMSK)] and 10/15 Hamming-code FEC for a maximum data rate of 217.6Kbps over a range of 10m.

"We saw Bluetooth as overkill for many of these applications in terms of cost, software development, power consumption, and link complexity," said Taffe. "We decided to customize it. We can hit a lower price point than Bluetooth and are ready to roll now," with full reference designs and software for keyboards, mice and gaming consoles.

The single chip comprises a 0.255m BiCMOS RF transceiver and a 0.255m CMOS baseband portion that does setup and breakdown of links, packet framing, error checking, and any real-time operations. The baseband also includes an applications engine. The only external component needed is a front-end bandpass filter, which Taffe expects to have integrated in the near future.

The chip consumes <105A in standby. Its power amplifier output of 4dBm translates to 0dBm at the antenna (like Bluetooth).

The chip is sampling now, priced at $3.92 in high volume, "but we expect to drop to under $3.50 by the second quarter of 2003," said Taffe. Volume shipments are expected by March.

- Patrick Mannion


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