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Processors pack VoIP bells, whistles

Posted: 01 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:applications processor? processor? wireless telephony? IP handset? SOHO?

Highly integrated applications processors are playing a key behind-the-scenes role in the latest IP wired and wireless telephony systems. From basic IP handsets and feature-rich desktop video phones, to SOHO and enterprise gateways and routers, the VoIP products shown at the recent Voice Over Networks Conference owe their existence to the ingenuity of chip designers and algorithm developers.

The latest ICs put many of the functions that would have required dozens of chips in years past into, in many cases, one highly-integrated applications processor, some external memory, and the network and analog telephone interfaces. The reduced complexity of the VoIP hardware will lead to lower costs for the vendors and, ultimately, buyers of sleeker products that consume less power.

To simplify the residential gateway, Broadcom Corp.'s BCM1111 integrates two analog telephone ports (including the analog codecs) along with two 10/100Mbps Ethernet media-access controllers, one 10/100Mbps PHY interface and a 300MHz, 32bit threaded MIPS CPU core. The threaded CPU core provides plenty of processing headroom to handle the software needed to implement packet-handling and other residential-gateway functions, said product-marketing manager Monika Gupta.

"The core includes a VoIP-optimized instruction set along with two single-cycle multiply-and-accumulate engines that can execute the complex signal-processing algorithms without requiring a separate DSP," Gupta said.

Used in conjunction with the company's BCM5325E device, the BCM1111 allows vendors to build a two-chip solution that provides four LAN ports and a two-port voice terminal adapter/router. Adding the BCM4318E AirForce WLAN interface results in a three-chip solution that delivers 802.11b/g capability as well.

Based on two MIPS32 24KEc cores, each running at 400MHz, the INCA-IP2 VoIP processor from Infineon Technologies AG delivers GbE connectivity and a highly-integrated set of features that can support an almost unlimited range of advanced voice applications, said Daniel Hartnett, product-marketing manager for access products. The dual cores provide software scalability without the need for a separate DSP core.

From Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd comes a novel chip that can allow a PC or other system to use a cellphone's Bluetooth headset as a VoIP headset for Skype-type VoIP phone calls. The chip allows designers to create a USB dongle that, when plugged into a host computer, appears as an audio card, thus eliminating the need to install special driver software, said Karen Parnell, product-marketing manager at CSR.

SyChip Inc.'s SV1000 VoIP processing engine combines a high-speed DSP, ADCs and DACs, and power-management logic in one chip. It is optimized to execute the real-time functions required during a VoIP call, including advanced speech coding, jitter buffering, encryption and acoustic-echo cancellation.

- Dave Bursky
EE Times

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