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Advanced GPS devices roll from Atheros

Posted: 03 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPS receiver? Assisted GPS? Bluetooth?

Atheros Communications' newest ROCm GPS solution consists of its second-generation, single-chip GPS receiver, the AR1511, and companion ORION 3.0 software suite.

The AR1511/ORION 3.0 solution contains patent-pending features that address the most challenging navigation environments. These enhancements provide considerable performance advances with Time To First Fix (TTFF) reacquisition times reduced by nearly half, and positional accuracy increased by more than 50 percent.

Features include Assisted GPS (AGPS) technology, advanced parallel search, and industry-leading tracking sensitivity of -160dBm. Together these technologies enable the most rapid and accurate location determination while conserving device battery power.

Atheros' Assisted GPS (AGPS) options speed navigation in environments where broadcast satellite signals are obscured. AGPS can also accelerate the navigation process in conditions where broadcast ephemeris is available, by quickly securing location information from non-broadcast sources, thus reducing power consumed in satellite search mode.

? Real-time ephemeris through cellular networks The AR1511 and ORION 3.0 combo provides GSM handsets with AGPS, exceeding the industry-standard 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications and the Secure User Plane for Location (SUPL) requirements, which facilitate communications between satellite location servers and GSM handsets. Bluetooth-enabled PNDs and PMPs can also access cellular-based ephemeris by connecting through a nearby handset.

? Real-time ephemeris through the Internet Atheros' new solution also provides conventional AGPS, access to real-time ephemeris over the Internet for PNDs, PMPs, and PCs?virtually any location-aware device that has Internet access over Wi-Fi. This allows GPS devices to have intermittent connectivity to real-time, Internet-accessed ephemeris when in the presence of a Wi-Fi access point, thus enabling accelerated location fixes, enhanced accuracy and reduced battery power.

? Extended ephemeris when real-time access is unavailable. The combo also supports extended ephemeris, stored satellite orbital data, for any location-aware device. This feature leverages RX Networks GPStream technology to accelerate TTFF and reacquisition times with high location accuracy. Extended ephemeris can be downloaded using wired or wireless connections from Internet- or cellular-based servers. The data is stored and provides tracking ability for up to seven days, minimizing the device's need to scan the sky or frequently access networks to obtain real-time location information. The GPStream technology delivers ephemeris in highly compact 2Kbyte files versus competitive solutions, which employ bulky 40-50Kbyte files, reducing the system memory requirement and demand on service provider networks. Like other forms of AGPS, extended ephemeris provides the added benefit of prolonging battery life through quicker location fixes.

The AR1511/ORION 3.0 combo features Atheros' patent-pending advanced parallel search, which utilizes eight search engines teamed with 12 highly sensitive tracking engines. This enhanced approach to search results in significant performance advantagesreducing reacquisition time by nearly half and increasing positional accuracy by more than 50 percent in challenging environments.

Atheros latest GPS solutions provide enhanced design flexibility with multiple options for either standalone or host-dependent applications.

? AR1511Available in a 5mm x 5mm CSP for standalone and hosted configurations, or a 10mm x 10mm BGA package for standalone and hosted configurations on low-cost PCBs

? AR1511F7mm x 7mm BGA package with integrated DSP and stacked flash die for small form factor standalone configurations

This AR1511F delivers GPS functionality without taxing the host processor and memory, and eliminates the need for dedicated Flash or fixed ROM. The chip provides significant advantages over competitive ROM-based solutions, with SDK support, selectable profiles and the ability to update software easily. Macronix is partnered with Atheros to provide the cost-efficient 1.8V, 8MByte MX29SL802CBXHI-90G flash option for standalone applications.

Atheros' new GPS solutions also employ worldwide satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS) to ensure the greatest accuracy, integrity and availability of GPS information within specific geographies. Systems supported by the ORION 3.0 software include WAAS (North America), MSAS (Japan), and EGNOS (Europe).

The AR1511 CSP package is pin-compatible to the uN3010 CSP package and provides an easy migration path from any existing design based on Atheros' first-generation, single-chip GPS solution. The AR1511/ORION 3.0 will sample to customers in Q2 08.

- Jack Shandle
Wireless Net DesignLine

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