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Wireless USB SiP includes development kit

Posted: 08 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Alex Mendelsohn? wireless USB? semiconductor? Staccato Communications? USB?

Staccato's latest WUSB silicon

Wireless USB is taking off, and vendors are now supplying OEMs with ICs and tools for implementation. Fabless semiconductor company Staccato Communications, for one, is debuting a reference design kit for developers of Certified Wireless USB (Universal Serial Bus) HWA (host wire adapter) and DWA (device wire adapter) designs. The kit supports the company's latest WUSB silicon.

Staccato's wares include its SC3111D development kit, priced at about $25,000. This includes two transceiver platforms for Certified Wireless USB, and contains related software, firmware, and components.

Staccato also offers some reference design kits, but hasn't established pricing for them. These include a SC3221R External Host Wire Adapter, a SC3222R MiniCard Host Wire Adapter, and a SC3223R Internal Device Wire Adapter board.

External HWA
The SC3221R, for example, is a small external HWA, similar in size to a USB flash drive. The in-form-factor board measures 16-by-50mm, and includes the plastics for its enclosure.

It plugs into any USB 2.0 port in a PC, and is enabled with an HWA driver. It's a low cost design using a single-chip (described in a moment). The SC3221R implements a UWB antenna, flash, LEDs and regulators to operate directly off USB bus power.

Additional reference designs can be supplied for the combination of 2.4GHz Bluetooth with Certified Wireless USB. Such a combo is possible on a single MiniCard as well as a USB plug-in dongle.

The company's goal is to offer a single chip that does it all. As such, Staccato's Ripcord SC3500P product family comprise single-chip approaches for Certified Wireless USB.

Staccato's single-chip devices, implemented in standard CMOS, encompass RF and digital baseband PHY (physical layer) circuits, as well as MAC (media access controller), memory, processor, encryption engine, and I/O blocks. The comms blocks support USB 2.0 Host, USB 2.0 Device, and SDIO 1.1 Device (Secure Digital IO).

To reduce risk, time-to-market and to simplify design-in, Staccato Communications's single-chip uses a LTCC-substrate ceramic package, and is provided in a SiP (system-in-package).

Included in the SiP is the system's CMOS die, RF matching network, bandpass filter, T/R (Transmit-receive) switch, all passive components, and a piezo crystal. Treated as a component, you can implement it without much RF expertise. Typically, the additional components needed to complete an OEM system consist of voltage regulators and an external antenna.

Staccato also provides all necessary firmware and software in its reference design kits. You also get working hardware samples, schematics, and Gerber layout files for boards.

The kits also include bill of materials, design guides, production test guides, firmware object code, HWA and DWA Windows XP drivers and utilities, and sample end-user manuals.

Partner program
Staccato also offers what it calls its Team Staccato Partner Program. It's sort of an electronics ecosystem that supports design-in of the company's products, including RF and protocol test equipment, additional software drivers from third-party vendors, and UWB filter and antenna components from other manufacturers.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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