Wireless Systems Design

On The Wireless Front

Milpitas, California
A new RF active mixer from Linear Technology provides linearity and signal-to-noise performance that match that of passive mixers. As a result, it allows designers to build 3G cellular base stations that are more compact at a substantially reduced cost. The LT5521 streamlines base-station design by resolving the high local-oscillator (LO) drive level, poor LO suppression, and low-conversion gain issues that are common to passive solutions. In addition to applications in wideband CDMA, UMTS, GSM, and PHS base-station transmitters, the LT5521's low distortion is ideal for cable downlink infrastructure.

The LT5521 incorporates a differential input and output architecture. It supports superior linearity over a wide operating frequency range from 10 MHz to 3.7 GHz. It also provides flexible operation in either an upconverting or downconverting application. As a transmit (upconverting) mixer, the input third-order intercept (IIP3) is +24.2 dBm at 1950 MHz. The noise figure measures 12.5 dB. These two parameters contribute to a high spurious-free dynamic range.

Unlike passive mixers, which require a high LO drive level of as much as +17 dBm, the LT5521 needs only a modest
−5-dBm LO signal. This saves one or two stages of the external LO amplifier, resulting in a more compact solution size and lower cost. Moreover, the LT5521 offers substantially reduced local-oscillator leakage from the LO to other input and output ports. This approach solves a major design headache by removing undesirable LO signals from the transmit path. Unlike passive mixers, which typically have high conversion loss in the range of 6 to 10 dB, the LT5521 has only 0.5 dB loss. This loss contributes to improved signal-to-noise performance. Taken as a whole, these attributes result in a solution that has far fewer external blocks, markedly reduced system costs, and overall improved performance.

The RF active mixer LT5521 operates from either a single 5- or 3.3-V supply. The device comes in a 16-pin, 4-×-4-mm, surface-mount QFP package. The price in 1000-piece quantities is $4.95. The product is now available from stock. Please visit www.linear.com for additional details on this announcement.

Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Valpey-Fisher Corp. added the Bangalore-based SM Electronic Technologies to the Valpey Fisher global distribution and rep network. It will serve as Valpey Fisher's exclusive authorized distributor for all product lines to the Indian market.

Commenting on the new agreement, Michael Ferrantino Jr., Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Valpey Fisher, stated, "We are pleased by the addition of SM Electronic Technologies to our portfolio of distributors. This addition further strengthens our position in the international markets and is a further indication of our growing commitment to our global customer base." Ferrantino then added, "With the Indian market rapidly changing to the adoption of new and upcoming technologies, we are excited for this opportunity to serve this market as their ultimate leader in precision-timing needs."

Valpey Fisher is a leading distributor and manufacturer of frequency-control products specializing in high-performance crystal oscillators, VCXOs, and OCXOs for applications including wireless, SONET, storage, and military. It is one of the few remaining "full-line" crystal and oscillator manufacturers with the capability to meet a complete range of customer frequency-control requirements including standard and custom designs. For further information, point your cursor to www.valpeyfisher.com.

Boise, Idaho
Micron Technology, Inc. is now sampling the first 128-Mb, burst CellularRAM device incorporating the new 1.5-generation feature set. The availability of this device is significant, as it is one of the first 128-Mb, burst pseudo-static RAMs (PSRAMs) currently available in the market. Also, it represents another memory architecture that Micron successfully produced with the company's revolutionary 6F2 array architecture technology.

Micron's 128-Mb, burst CellularRAM devices target mobile handsets providing performance-enhancing features. The cell architecture that was used to produce this device minimizes standby and active current levels, resulting in a lower-power, higher-bandwidth solution than competing PSRAM technologies. Other unique performance features include the ability to perform reads and writes in 4-, 8-, 16-, 32-word, or continuous bursts. It also boasts increased compatibility with flash burst protocol, burst clock rates of 104/80/66 MHz, and a variable latency function that minimizes delays and maximizes bandwidth. In addition, the CellularRAM specification co-development members defined a common bond format, which allows multichip-package (MCP) manufacturers to utilize multiple vendors without requiring a redesign of their substrates. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc. and CellularRAM devices, visit its web site at www.micron.com.

Rockleigh, New Jersey
Elcom Technologies, Inc. released a new ultra-fast, ultra-low-phase-noise, high- performance broadband synthesizer. It is designed specifically for ATE applications. The UFS-4 series is based on direct-analog design techniques combined with DDS capability for fine-frequency resolution. This series is ideally suited for agile radar, EW, and RCS systems where low phase noise and fast switching speeds are of primary importance. Specific characteristics of the synthesizer include a frequency range of 0.3 to 4 GHz, a frequency resolution of 1.0 Hz, a switching speed of 200 ns, and +10-dBm output power.

A modular design approach has been used to allow for several possible frequency ranges and step sizes. In addition, several package options are available including VXI. The UFS series can be customized to meet special applications, such as EW threat and target simulators, radar cross-section instrumentation, fire control and search radar upgrades, semiconductor test, and ATE speed-up.

Elcom has also brought to market the LCDFS-series synthesizers. Designed for high-capacity MW and MMW radios up to 38 GHz, this series offers lower phase noise and a guaranteed zero phase hits—a key feature over the competition. Low phase noise satisfies 16, 32, 128, and 256 QAM requirements, making the synthesizers suitable for high-speed data transmissions.

The LCDFS series has a tuning bandwidth up to 1350 MHz and step sizes ranging from 25 KHz to 10 MHz. The DC power consumption for the synthesizer series is under 4 W. The operating temperature is between −35° to + 70°C.

The series comes packaged in a 3.95-×-3.75-×-1.2-in. housing (other packages are also available). Applications include wireless ATM networks, SATCOM converters, digital radios, and instrumentation. The LCDFS synthesizers can be customized per a customer's specific requirements. They are suitable for high-volume production. For more information, go to www.elcom-tech.com.

San Jose, California
Xilinx, Inc. has received production qualification for its Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs. The production qualification using UMC's 0.13-µm process on 300-mm wafers has been achieved on schedule and ahead of all competing solutions. Virtex-II Pro X devices are the industry's first FPGAs with production-quality transceivers at speeds above 3.7 Gbps.

Utilizing its latest RocketIO technology to achieve up to 10.3125-Gbps serial data rates, Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs are the functionally compatible extension of the highly successful Virtex-II Pro family. With the combination of Virtex-II Pro and Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs, Xilinx provides the industry's first solution supporting any speed between 622 Mbps and 10.3125 Gbps. As the industry continues to turn to high-speed serial solutions for an increasing number of applications, many industry leaders are moving from 2.5- and 3.125-Gbps connections to 5- and 6.25-Gbps connections. With this announcement, Xilinx now offers customers a high-volume, production-released solution for those applications. Production-released device support for applications up to 10.3125 Gbps will follow. More information about high-speed serial solutions from Xilinx is available at www.xilinx.com/serialsolution.

Mountain View, California
Actel Corp.'s low-power eX family of FPGAs is now being used in Eleven Engineering's ETHx wireless-Ethernet bridge platform. ETHx is a complete chip set and product design package for secure driver-free, 802.3-compliant, point-to-point wireless-Ethernet cable replacement. It is suitable for use in low-cost consumer and commercial products at 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.8 GHz. Actel's eX FPGAs serve as the high-speed I/O interface between Eleven Engineering's novel XInC wireless processor and an Ethernet PHY in the ETHx platform. With internal clock speeds in excess of 350 MHz and clock-to-out delays as fast as 3.9 ns, Actel's eX FPGAs provide the performance necessary to enable fast I/O throughput for Eleven Engineering's high-speed XInC wireless processor.

That wireless processor is a multithreaded-hardware, 16-b pipelined RISC processor with eight independent hardware threads. Each thread behaves as a separate processor with unrestricted access to the main memory and peripheral bus. XInC's architecture results in outstanding MIPS-per-gate efficiency and slashed time to market. When coupled with an Actel eX FPGA, high-speed I/O throughput between the XInC processor and other devices in the ETHx platform can be achieved.

Offering a low-power sleep mode for extra battery-power savings, the eX family of devices is optimized for portable applications. The devices are competitively priced when compared with the cost of complex programmable-logic devices (CPLDs), low-density gate-array ASICs, or two-chip FPGA alternatives. For further details of this announcement, go to www.actel.com.

Sunnyvale, California
Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the smallest 1-cell/2-cell, input step-up DC-DC converter on the market. Known as MAX1947, its 2-MHz switching, current-mode control reduces component size, achieves over 94% efficiency, and gives fast transient responses. It integrates all switches (power switch, synchronous rectifier, and reverse current blocker), making it ideal for use in size-constrained handheld equipment. It also features true shutdown. This capability allows the load to be discharged and disconnected from the battery during shutdown to maximize battery life.

The MAX1947 is available in a space-saving, 3-x-3-mm, 8-pin, thin-DFN package screened for −40º to +85ºC. Prices start at $1.55 (1000-up, FOB USA). An evaluation kit is available to speed designs. Further information can be found at www.maxim-ic.com.

Heilbronn, Germany
Atmel Corp. has extended its Dresden Design Center by adding 32 new highly skilled engineers to the 12 designers who have been part of the Atmel team for the last three years. Atmel has also drastically increased the size of its location. In addition, it is building up a new laboratory.

"The addition of the new design engineers will enhance Atmel's ability to provide innovative, state-of-the-art integrated circuits at a competitive price. Atmel is very happy with the excellent support from Saxony. The Dresden region offers a strong base of skilled engineers supported by excellent infrastructure and politics that encourage further investment into the region," says Bob McConnell, VP and General Manager of Atmel's RF and Automotive Business Unit. "A number of our customers and suppliers are located in and around the city of Dresden," he continued.

Twenty-five engineers of the 32 recently hired will be used to design RF CMOS devices to enable Atmel to deliver even more cost-effective wireless devices—especially in the areas of ZigBee, GPS, and future wireless programs. The original group of 12 engineers has been augmented by seven. It will continue to design advanced circuits for automotive-body electronics utilizing Atmel's silicon-on-insulator BCDMOS technologies. For more information, go to www.atmel.com.

Redmond, Washington
Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of a new group within the company to help focus efforts and further develop relationships with the media and entertainment industries. The newly formed group—the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group—will consolidate and drive the company's strategies for the digital convergence of home-entertainment technologies, personal computing, and media—particularly in the areas of business and market development, technical and IP policy, and industry-standards initiatives.

Blair Westlake, former Chairman of the Universal Television & Networks Group, will join the company and head up the new group as Corporate Vice President. Under Westlake's leadership, the convergence group will be responsible for ensuring that effective business relationships, technologies, and policies are in place to meet the increasing consumer demand for access to high-quality audio/visual digital information, entertainment, news, and sports programming via Windows-powered devices in the home.

In conjunction with this announcement, Microsoft has expanded its strategic relationship with Lieberfarb & Associates LLC—a media and technology consulting firm. This expansion will further support the strategic activities of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group. For further details, go to www.microsoft.com.

Irvine, California
ARM and Broadcom Corp. have announced a broad agreement to partner in the development of ARM-technology-based products. These products will be optimized for a wide range of communications applications. The partnership will enable Broadcom to use ARM technology to further accelerate its leadership position in a number of markets, including next-generation mobile, networking, and wireless devices. The two companies also expect that through the extended partnership, Broadcom's expertise in broadband and wireless communications will assist ARM in developing better microprocessor solutions for these high-growth markets. This agreement includes the ARM7, ARM9, and ARM11 families of microprocessors and supporting technology. Also included in the agreement is TrustZone technology for data security, Jazelle technology for Java acceleration, and hardware support for the ARM Intelligent Energy Manager solution.

Broadcom has now incorporated ARM7 and ARM9 family microprocessors into its communications chip sets (including Broadcom GSM, GPRS, EDGE, and Bluetooth products). End products that are powered by these chips include the Treo 600 from palmOne, Sony Ericsson's tri-band GC-75/GC-82 GPRS PC-card modem, and multimedia GSM/GPRS handsets from Ningbo Bird. For more information, go to www.broadcom.com.

Sunnyvale, California
National Semiconductor Corp. now offers an easy-to-use design guide that addresses the power-management requirements of the most popular field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Xilinx. National's FPGA design guide includes selection tables linking Xilinx FPGAs with corresponding National Semiconductor voltage regulators, voltage supervisors, and voltage references that meet the power-management requirements of each FPGA. It also includes schematics for seven complete reference designs with fully optimized power supplies for each of the Xilinx FPGAs featured in the guide. In addition to the design guide, National offers an expanded, dynamic web page (www.national.com/appinfo/power/xilinxfpga.html) that recommends National's power management, thermal management, interface, networking, and Bluetooth wireless technology products for use with Xilinx FPGAs.

To complement the design guide, Avnet Digital Services—the technical arm of Avnet Cilicon—is offering National's and Xilinx's products for sale throughout North America. Avnet Cilicon is franchised to support and sell both National Semiconductor and Xilinx products.

National's power-management FPGA design guide features detailed selection guides for the most popular FPGAs from Xilinx, including the Virtex and Spartan FPGA families. It provides multiple power-management solutions from National to handle the different supply voltages required by each FPGA in different applications, such as those that are powered from the popular 3.3-V, 5.0-V, and 12-V rails. The guide has commonly used topologies for buck, synchronous buck, single inductor step-up and step-down, and linear functions. It also has detailed reference designs for each of the featured Xilinx FPGAs. Information on National's WEBENCH online design tool is included as well. Many of the power-management products featured are available for complete electrical and thermal design and simulation using the WEBENCH tool. Finally, Avnet Cilicon is offering a programmable power-supply kit based on National's LM2636 switching-controller IC through its Avnet Design Services group. It is designed for the Xilinx FPGAs featured in the guide. For more information, check out www.national.com.

South Portland, Maine
Fairchild Semiconductor is offering the FAN7310, a new full-bridge inverter/driver IC that integrates a pulse-width-modulation (PWM) controller in a 20-SSOP package. This compact part offers an efficient, low-part-count solution for portable-LCD backlighting applications. The FAN7310 supports analog, mixed, and burst-dimming modes of operation. It has a wide input range (5 to 24 V). It also offers a variety of circuit-protection features for further reliability. In addition to advanced phase shift control for improved thermal characteristics, the FAN7310 offers alternate zero-voltage switching (ZVS) and zero-current switching (ZCS) full-bridge topology while consuming less than 4-mA (typical) operating current.

The FAN7310 is ideal for backlighting in notebook computers, LCD monitors, and car navigation systems—applications that require both power and space savings. Various protection features are integrated into the FAN7310, such as open-lamp regulation (OLR) and open-lamp protection (OLP). They shield the transformer from overvoltage during startup or when an open lamp occurs. It also has an internal shunt regulator to allow the FAN7310 to operate across a wide input-voltage range.

The FAN7310 is complemented by Fairchild's low RDS(on) single and dual MOSFETs for achieving high efficiency and space savings in backlight inverter designs. Available now, it costs $2.75 in 1000-piece quantities. To find out more, go to www.fairchildsemi.com.

San Jose, California
Altera Corp. announced the addition of Aliathon to the Altera Megafunction Partners Program (AMPP). Customers now have access to Aliathon's advanced range of multi-channel SONET/SDH and plesiochronous-digital-hierarchy (PDH) intellectual-property (IP) cores. These cores are ideal for communications applications, such as edge switches, edge routers, add-drop multiplexers, and associated test equipment. The new SONET/SDH framers and PDH mappers allow designers to replace many of their traditional multichip designs with single-chip alternatives, saving both cost and power.

Implemented with Altera's Stratix FPGA family, the IP cores maintain high speed while minimizing resource usage. A complete mapping of 336 DS1 or 252 E1 signals to an STS-12/STM-4 frame consumes less than 50% of an EP1S25 device, yielding the industry's most compact solution.

The Altera Megafunction Partners Program was created to bring the advantages of design reuse to users of Altera PLDs. AMPP is an alliance between Altera and developers of IP cores. It encourages megafunction development for Altera programmable-logic devices and HardCopy-structured ASICs. Through the AMPP program, Altera provides technical information, training, IP integration services, certification, and reference marketing to its AMPP partners. Customers may automatically request a free evaluation of any of these cores through Altera's megafunction listings at the IP MegaStore web site: www.altera.com/ipmegastore.

Seoul, Korea
SAMSUNG Electronics Co., Ltd. recently came to market with the latest addition to its Mobile DRAM portfolio. This monolithic 256-Mb, 32-b, wide double-data-rate (DDR) device offers the bandwidth needed for photo-realistic 3D gaming in handsets. Mass production is scheduled for the second half of 2004.

The device is part of SAMSUNG's growing product family of mobile synchronous-DRAM solutions. These solutions are available as single-data-rate (SDR) or DDR devices—all of which meet the strict power and form-factor requirements demanded by battery-powered handsets. The Mobile DDR x32 device supports data-transfer rates of up to 266 Mbps per pin for an aggregate bandwidth of 1.064 GBps. It incorporates SAMSUNG's proven 0.10-µm process technology to effectively implement the mobile memory characteristics.

SAMSUNG's Mobile DRAMs significantly reduce the power consumption of the most popularly used DRAM, enabling OEMs to dramatically extend battery life in handsets such as smart phones, MP3 players, and PDAs. At the same time, the use of DRAM-based memory solutions allows designers to add new functions to handsets without sacrificing performance or form factor.

On-chip features of this device include an integrated temperature-compensation-self-refresh sensor (TCSR), partial-array self refresh (PASR), and deep-power-down mode (DPD). Such functionality offers designers a competitive advantage by enabling systems that more accurately manage power budgets.

SAMSUNG's Mobile DRAM products include SDR and DDR Mobile DRAMs with densities ranging from 64 to 512 Mb. The Mobile DRAM portfolio also leverages SAMSUNG's advanced packaging technology to deliver solutions in multichip packages (MCPs). MCP solutions allow Mobile DRAMs to be packaged together with a variety of SAMSUNG memory devices including: NAND Flash, OneNAND Flash, SRAM, and UtRAMs or ASICs in a system-in-a-package (SIP) solution. The Mobile DDR x32 device is currently shipping as engineering samples. For more information, visit www.samsung.com.

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