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WiMax race intensifies with chips, mini-PCI kits

Posted: 19 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sequans? wavesat? wimax?

Sequans and Wavesat are unveiling this week a chip set and a mini-PCI card reference kit to accelerate WiMax development and deployment.

"The market is at a stage now where it can go to high volume," said Vijay Dube, vice president of business development at Wavesat (Dorval, Quebec). "This is the first mini-PCI card design," Dube claimed, "and it will accelerate the design and deployment of WiMax" customer premise equipment (CPE). Dube said he expects Asian ODMs to quickly ramp up the volume of WiMax gear and drive down costs.

Based on the company's DM256 physical-layer baseband, the reference kit marries it with an RF Magic front end for 3.5GHz operation. The company will support the media access control (MAC) layer in software. Wavesat is also working with SiGe semiconductor for an RF front end.

While Wavesat's DM256 was announced in January, Sequans Communications (Cupertino, Calif.) is making its silicon debut with the SQN2010 and SQN1010 baseband-plus-MAC chips for basestations and CPEs, respectively. "We got silicon back in September and it works," said Bernard Aboussouan, vice president of marketing and business development at Sequans.

Manufactured in a 0.13-micron CMOS process by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd, the chips include an ARM926 processor and the baseband processing, though the SQN2010 adds another ARM926 for customer applications.

RF front-end partners include Sierra Monolithics and RF Magic. Both chips perform a variety of MAC functions in hardware to offload the ARM processor. Additional function support provided by the '2010 include subchannelization, space-time coding and maximal ratio combining. "Most [companies] are only talking about supporting these, but no one has done it yet," said Aboussouan.

The chip comes in a 31 by 31mm BGA package, consumes between 1.5 and 2.5 W. The '1010 comes in a 23 by 23 BGA and consumes 1 to 2 W. Both the Wavesat and Sequans chips cost $35 each in quantities of 10,000 pieces. The Wavesat reference design consumes 2.5 W total, the reference kit costs $50,000, and the company expects a mini-PCI card based on the design to cost between $60 to $70.

- Patrick Mannion

EE Times

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