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Platform supports Bluetooth, WLAN for handsets

Posted: 02 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:UMA-enabled devices? fixed-line broadband networks? Bluetooth? WLAN? Nexperia 5210 cellular system?

NXP Semiconductors wants to leverage the complementary aspects of Bluetooth networks and WLANs in a Nexperia platform that lets mobile handsets simultaneously use Bluetooth and WLAN capabilities.

The company rolled out its Nexperia 5210 cellular system, which incorporates an unlicensed mobile access software stack from Kineto Wireless Inc. that allows devices to be used at home, over fixed-line broadband networks and outside via a cellular network. Calls can be made using a Bluetooth headset.

To overcome the challenges of operating WLAN and Bluetooth in the same frequency band and physical location without degrading data throughput or voice and audio quality, NXP integrated a set of coexistence algorithms into the 5210's baseband. They enable WLAN and Bluetooth functions to operate simultaneously without interference, NXP said. Other algorithms have been added specifically for voice applications, with an eye toward ensuring communications clarity when using a Bluetooth headset.

The simultaneous use of WLAN and Bluetooth is particularly challenging because both operate at 2.5GHz, said Christophe Joyau, international product-marketing manager at NXP. The most critical issue is ensuring that no quality degradation occurs when switching between the two. "The technical imperative you have is to avoid one system transmitting while the other is receiving," Joyau said.

To overcome this, he said, NXP created a mechanism to mediate between the two protocols. It's "a kind of software supervisor that acts like a time-division traffic controller between WLAN and Bluetooth," said Joyau. "You make sure that, by adding a dynamic algorithm, you schedule the traffic to offset time-frequency collision."

Quality level
NXP said the Nexperia 5210 requires no additional end-user setup. UMA-enabled devices switch seamlessly between cellular networks and Wi-Fi hotspots, automatically detecting the fastest and most cost-effective network, according to the company. NXP believes that UMA is particularly attractive to business users. "We are introducing new technology at the same level of quality and comfort as what you can afford today," Joyau said. "You will not have any change in terms of end-user connection."

Nexperia 5210 cellular systems incorporates unlicensed mobile-access software stack from Kineto.

NXP said the 5210's cellular solution is a highly integrated device in a small form factor that can easily be designed into new mobile products. The 5210 combines a power core with NXP's BGB210S Bluetooth 2.0 enhanced data rate device and its BGW211 802.11g WLAN chip. It will be available in 1H.

Kineto's relationship with NXP pre-dates the company's 2006 spinout from Royal Philips Electronics. At the 3GSM World Congress in February 2005, the pair said they would combine Kineto's UMA technology with Nexperia Wi-Fi-enabled cellular system solutions to allow cellphones to switch voice, data and multimedia calls between conventional cellular networks and WLAN access points in the home, at the office and at public hotspots. Last year, UMA phones using Philips' 6120 cellular system solution became available in the U.S. market. According to the company, these phones switch between cellular networks and Wi-Fi hotspots, automatically detecting the fastest and most cost-effective network.

Joyau described the 5120 as the second step in the collaboration with Kineto.

Other chipmakers also support roaming between various networks. A Texas Instruments Inc. spokeswoman said that the WiLink 5.0, which integrates mobile WLAN, Bluetooth and FM stereo audio in one chip, is currently shipping in handsets and that Taiwan smart-phone manufacturer High Tech Computer Corp. is a customer.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times




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