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IC partners help designers avoid wireless USB pitfalls

Posted: 12 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless USB? semicon? semiconductor? IC verification? chip verification?

By Alun Roberts

When you tackle a design project that involves an emerging technology such as wireless USB, you face a variety of problems that are different from those encountered with an established technology. In an established market, the support system you need to develop the complete product is probably already in place. With emerging technologies such as wireless USB, however, working with a silicon vendor that can help you develop a complete solution for your application will accelerate product development and verification time.

When you work with a new standard such as wireless USB based on the WiMedia Common Radio Platform, you encounter many new companies that can only provide one piece of the solution. As the product developer, you must tackle the integration problems of embedding the wireless USB chips into your product, while dealing with evolving communications standards and regulatory agencies.

This discussion brings up points you must consider for wireless USB product development. It will help you understand the trade-offs between finding and stitching together the pieces you need for your product development vs. working with a silicon partner that can provide a total, integrated solution to differentiate your product from the pack.


  • ? Work with a silicon vendor that has a highly integrated chip set designed to optimize the bill-of-materials (BOM) and size considerations.

  • Work with a silicon vendor that has a clear and aggressive product road map.

  • Work with a vendor that has Certified Wireless USB and FCC-approved reference designs.

  • Make sure that the hardware portion of a silicon vendor's reference design includes a working design sample, schematics, layout source files, a detailed BOM, a design manual and a user guide.

  • Make sure your product can be manufactured with sufficient yield to return an acceptable profit margin.


  • Use a strategy whereby you work with one vendor for one piece of the silicon functionality, a second vendor for another piece, and a third for application software and drivers.

  • Work with a silicon vendor that is not current with and does not address wireless USB standards and regulatory requirements, since doing so makes your your job more difficult.

  • Ignore a silicon vendor's expertise with antenna selection and optimization.

  • Count on third parties to provide all the required application software, drivers and firmware at the right time to enable your early market entry.

About the author
Alun Roberts
is vice president of marketing at WiQuest, which he joined in April 2006 after leaving AMI Semiconductor. He has a BSEE from the University of Wales. Comments may be sent to

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