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Silicon Wave unveils Bluetooth radio processor

Posted: 12 Mar 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silicon wave? siw3000? siw1712? siw1711? siw1713?

Silicon Wave has started sampling its single chip CMOS Bluetooth radio processor, with a promise that the integrated device will again break the cost of entry for OEMs, this time to sub $4 when used in volume applications such as cellphones.

Dubbed the SiW3000 and, according to Jarvis Tou, Silicon Wave's VP for product management and marketing, the first single chip Bluetooth part to use a zero IF direct conversion architecture for the radio modem, the device is targeted at mobile handsets, with volume production in a 0.18?m CMOS process scheduled for Q2 of this year. The part is being showcased for the first time at next week's CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans.

Until now, Silicon Wave's Bluetooth radio parts have been made in Silicon on Insulator BiCMOS. "We decided to implement the zero IF parts in CMOS when we saw that 0.18?m CMOS would be generally available. For applications where the premium is on power and less on price, we will continue to make the radio modems in BiCMOS," said Tou.

The radio modem is combined with a 32-bit ARM7TDMI processor core with headroom for audio algorithms and embedded applications, Bluetooth baseband logic, and 1.1 HCI protocol stack in ROM.

"We have been engaging with tens of customers that have looked at designing the part in to mobile phones, headsets and PDAs, and several module manufacturers, mainly in Korea, Taiwan and Japan, with very few in Europe. That is not surprising since the target in the mobile phone area is 2.5G using the CDMA1X and Edge protocols," said Tou.

Also being unveiled at CTIA are three direct conversion radio modems, one of which, the SiW1712, is optimized for integration into mobile phones using CDMA-compatible chipsets with a Bluetooth baseband device.

The others are more general purpose parts, with the SiW1711 targeted at applications where the Bluetooth baseband functionality has been integrated into another ASIC, and the SiW1713 for use in a variety of baseband ICs from other manufacturers that support the Nokia RF-BB interface.

Tou said a key design aim for the RF CMOS Bluetooth parts has been easy software compatibility with Version 1.2 of the Bluetooth specification. "We are pretty confident Version 1.2 will be approved by the Bluetooth industry promoters by the middle of this year. [By] all indications, we will be ready to ship a v1.2 of the SiW3000 by Q3."

Version 1.2 of the Bluetooth specification incorporates enhancements such as Adaptive Frequency Hopping and faster connection. Most companies supplying Bluetooth chips plan to upgrade to the new spec using flash memory downloads.

Tou said these enhancements will become even more important as the PC-centric industry shifts to Bluetooth solutions that can coexist with Wi-Fi. "We are ideally positioned to meet that challenge too, as we have demonstrated that the 3000 supports our coexistence solutions developed in partnership with Intersil (the Blue802 technology) and Intel."

On the performance front, the RF end of the SiW3000 processor exhibits -85dBm receive sensitivity, has low spurious emissions and relaxed filter requirements to meet cellular blocking specifications. With a range of up to 100m, it more than adequately meets the basic Bluetooth spec of 10m, without the need for additional components. Baseband performance is aided by full support for scattered mode, enhancing multiple device connectivity without performance degradation.

Tou said the device has significant performance advantages over the single chip CMOS radio processors from CSR, the Cambridge, U.K.-based supplier that has been selling its version for at least 12 months. Using the ARM core, with 16MIPS of processing power that leaves up to 10 spare MIPS available for customization, is a huge advantage, he said, over CSR's use of a proprietary controller.

- John Walko

EE Times

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