It took many years for practical commercial Wi- Media Ultra-Wideband (UWB) products to appear in the marketplace. Like most technologies, the hype cycle stirs things up and the market wonders why products aren’t instantaneously on the shelves. Well, it’s not that easy. But today, many real UWB chip sets are available from multiple vendors. Most comply with the WiMedia standard, so they’re interoperable too.
Alereon’s AL5000 USB chip sets integrate the RF transceiver, baseband processor/media access controller (BBP/MAC), and firmware/software to implement a complete WiMedia UWB product that supports all protocol adaptation layers, including Certified Wireless USB device and dual-role device technology. Covering worldwide band groups 1, 3, 4, and 6 from 3.1 to 10.6 GHz, the devices target desktop and laptop PCs; aftermarket hubs, adapters, and cards; and embedded devices including PC peripherals, mobile handsets, and digital cameras where space and power consumption are at a premium.
The company’s silicon-germanium (SiGe) AL5100 RF transceiver integrates sensitive analog front-end components including a synthesizer voltage controlled oscillator/phase-locked loop (VCO/PLL), anti-alias filters, low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), power amplifiers (PAs), and transmit/receive (T/R) switches. It also supports a single-ended connection to the antenna, eliminating external baluns. Combined with the Alereon AL5350 BBP/MAC, the AL5100 supports all current mandatory WiMedia specifications for worldwide band groups 1, 3, 4, and 6, including all time frequency codes (TFCs), 1-10.
CHIP + REFERENCE DESIGN = SUCCESS
The A-150 WiMedia MAC chip from Artimi can work with any compliant RF transceiver. On top of that, the company offers reference designs for projectors and external hard drives using USB. Its Wireless USB Projector Reference Design Kit (PRJ-RDK) provides OEM and ODM customers a complete production solution for creating high-speed “Zero Install” wireless LCD projector implementations for both aftermarket and integrated projector products (Fig. 1).
The design features output resolutions up to SVGA with VGA and DVI output options, advanced resolution scaling, and integrated USB graphics technology from DisplayLink. Full Certified Wireless USB connectivity is provided. The A-150 and other Artimi designs also can be found in a wide range of USB-compatible external hard drives.
WIRELESS SPEAKER MODULE
Using WiMedia radios, the Roomcaster XWAV wireless module from Radiient Technologies makes wireless speakers a reality and enables a vast array of wireless home entertainment products (Fig. 2). The technology comes in two flavors, the Roomcaster Host and the Roomcaster Device—same hardware module, different functionality.
THE NEXT GENERATION
One of the newest and more advanced UWB products, Staccato’s second-generation Ripcord2, puts a full WiMedia transceiver with an RF front end, digital baseband, MAC, and I/O on a single CMOS chip using 65-nm technology. It is a giant leap forward in UWB chip power consumption, size, and integration. The Ripcord2 also supports multiple protocols, including Wireless USB, High-Speed Bluetooth, Wireless IP, and Wireless Audio/Video.
Furthermore, the Ripcord2 supports WiMedia Band groups 1, 3, and 6 as well as detection and avoidance (DAA), making it a worldwide compatible solution. It additionally supports all TFCs (TFS 1-10) and data rate modes from 53.3 to 480 Mbits/s. Its Protocol Independent Kernet (PIK) architecture supports all the various other protocols.
The device includes the USB 2.0 host/device and SDIO 2.0 interfaces. Its extra-low power consumption and reduced size (5 by 5 mm) make it ideal for highvolume consumer applications like cellular handsets, printers, portable media players, wireless audio/video, and mass storage. Staccato has already shipped samples and has a development kit (DVK) available. The company is developing several reference designs that will be released in the coming months.
ELIMINATING CABLE CLUTTER
Sigma Designs offers two unique applications products based on its WiMedia-compliant chip sets. The first, known as HDAV or High Definition Audio/Visual, can be used to replace High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cables with a wireless equivalent. The second, called CoAir, can implement home-entertainment networking over installed home cable TV coax. Both use Sigma’s Windeo UWB chip set.
HDAV is designed to replace the cables between the set-top box (STB) and HDTV set or DVD player. It comes as a module packaged into a transmitter box that’s connected to the STB or DVD player. Then, another version of the module is packaged into a receiver box that connects to the TV set. The receiver uses three receivers and antennas in a multiple input/ multiple output (MIMO) arrangement to ensure very reliable communications. The HDAV module uses the Fujitsu H.264-compliant MB86H51 CODES and Sigma Desings’ SMP8634 secure media processor decoder with the Windeo UWB chip set (Fig. 3).
The CoAir employs Sigma’s B7CW101 RF TX/3RX chip and B7CC401 baseband chip, which uses external flash and DRAM. It also includes PCI, DVI-SPI, Ethernet, and local bus interfaces. With this combination, users can transmit multiple 1080p HD video streams to multiple rooms over a coax cable network using the IP multicast protocol at up to 100 m.
The WQU210 low-power CMOS system-on-a-chip (SoC) from WiQuest combines RF, a baseband PHY, a MAC engine, a high-speed security processor, a quality of service (QoS) manager, and a rich variety of host interfaces, all in one highly integrated design (Fig. 4). It operates in lower-band and upper-band groups to provide for a single worldwide product configuration where the additional regulatory flexibility of the bands above 6 GHz complements the range of the lower bands.
Additionally, the WQU210 provides user density enhancements driven by an increase in worldwide adoption of the technology. Coupled with WiQuest’s application software and Wireless USB host/device drivers, its versatile interfaces and features support both host and device-side connectivity, enabling a broad range of products and applications, all from a single chip. Wireless USB host designs can take advantage of the integrated high-speed PCI Express subsystem implementing a wireless host controller interface (WHCI) and supporting both WiMedia standard data rates up to 480 Mbits/s as well as WiQuest’s 1-Gbit/s extended data rates for increased throughput applications. For device applications, the WQU210 integrates a USB2.0 interface designed to minimize the overall bill of materials.