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Combo chip designed to expand connectivity options

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:combo chip? mobile processor? connectivity options?

Qualcomm Atheros Inc. has began sampling its WCN3660 combo chip, optimized for use in smartphone and tablet devices. The chips are designed to bring expanded connectivity options to the Qualcomm Snapdragon's family of mobile processors.

The combo chip features a single-stream 802.11n with dual-band in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz levels to enhance mobile wireless multimedia applications. It also supports an extensive suite of advanced WiFi connectivity options with multiple WiFi standards, as well as Bluetooth 3.0 and Bluetooth 4.0 and the worldwide FM radio frequency band.

Designed to interface with Qualcomm's 28nm Snapdragon mobile processors, such as the MSM8960, MSM8270, MSM8x30 and APQ8064, Qualcomm Atheros claims that the new combo chip enables customers to provide enhanced connectivity in mobile devices while reducing the board area required for WiFi, Bluetooth and FM radio support by up to 50 percent over existing solutions.

Optimized to work with a broad range of mobile operating systems such as Android, next-generation Windows and Windows Phone, Palm WebOS and QNX, the WCN3660 also supports mobile hotspot functionality for up to 14 clients with industry standards-based WiFi Direct for peer-to-peer wireless connections without an access point present and the emerging WiFi display standard for streaming video directly from a smartphone or tablet to a WiFi-enabled display or television.

Scheduled for release later this year, the combo chip has an integrated dual-band power amplifier, transmit antenna switch and on-chip matching circuit, which allows it to meet the most stringent carrier requirements while minimizing solution size and power consumption.

The bluetooth standards supported by the WCN3660 chip include the high-speed Bluetooth 3.0 for audio streaming and device connectivity, and low-power Bluetooth 4.0, which was designed to work with low-power sensors, health monitoring devices and other low data-rate applications.

The chip's FM radio capabilities include support for both FM receiver and transceiver functionality; worldwide FM band support ranging from 76108MHz; RDS support for Europe and RBDS support for the U.S.; autonomous search, seek and manual tuning; and active noise cancellation.

The WCN3660 is fully-calibrated, with wafer-level package smaller than 15mm2 for direct mounting to a PCB for ease of design and implementation. According to the company, it also provides excellent battery life in mobile devices with its small size and low power consumption in both active and standby modes.

The combo chip interfaces directly with the centralized coexistence manager in the Snapdragon device to minimize interference, provide high long-term evolution (LTE) data throughput and optimal audio quality, and give real-time, intelligent packet arbitration and schedulingproviding an LTE/ISM coexistence solution that is optimized beyond the capabilities of standard filtering approaches.

According to Qualcomm Atheros product management vice-president, David Favreau, the new combo chip, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors, provides a powerful solution for always-connected mobile devices that support WAN, WLAN and WPAN connections. "Qualcomm Atheros is utilizing its systems expertise to deliver a highly innovative and integrated architecture for connectivity solutions in smartphones and tablets," Favreau said.

Qualcomm Atheros senior vice-president and consumer business unit general manager, Amir Faintuch, said that with the launch of the WCN3660 combo chip, the company is demonstrating its commitment to provide an extensive connectivity portfolio of discrete, combo and integrated platform solutions to its smartphone and tablet customers. "Qualcomm Atheros is pleased to help enable a new generation of mobile devices that connect users to the growing array of must-have social, media and cloud applications," Faintuch added.

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