Bluetooth offerings are starting to hit critical mass, with a slew of companies readying their version for release this quarter. This makes analysts' predictions of a late 2000 or early 2001 time frame for fully enabled product introductions appear increasingly pessimistic. With the burgeoning demand for tetherless connectivity, Bluetooth proliferation may well be under way by mid-summer. Fueling that expectation is the debut of highly integrated, low-power, robust devices—such as the PH2401 Bluetooth transceiver about to be released by Philsar of Nepean, Ontario, Canada.
According to Mike O'Neill, vice president of sales and marketing at Philsar, "The chip has been designed from the ground up for real-world fading and multipath distortion, with an emphasis on low power consumption." It uses a 0.5-µm, SiGe biCMOS ASIC process, a low-IF conversion architecture, and an operating voltage of 1.8 V (1.2 V optional). With this, the device achieves a power consumption of under 20 mW and is Class 2 (30 to 4 dBm, 10 m) and Class 3 (−30 to 0 dBm, 10 m) compliant, according to Bluetooth Specification v1.0. Class 1 (−30 to 20 dBm, 100 m) compliance can be attained by adding an external power amp. The programmable power control extends battery life by using only as much power as the application requires.
The highly integrated device includes an on-chip VCO, fractional-N synthesizer, power amplifier, low-noise amplifier, IF filters, a received signal strength indicator (RSSI), and bit slicer. The synthesizer is crystal-independent, giving it the flexibility to operate over a wide range of crystal frequencies. Because the Bluetooth specification allows for only a 4-bit preamble, the AGC must be very fast to catch it. The PH2401's AGC uses a patent-pending, ultra-fast design that reacts within 1 to 2 bits. Two-point, closed-loop modulation is used, and the receiver output is 4-GFSK ready.
Features also include a receiver sensitivity of 84 dBm, or 20% better than the Bluetooth specification, and a BER of 0.1%. The device comes in a BCC++48-pin package. Pricing will be under $5 each in volume, with samples available later this quarter. An evaluation board also is planned.
Philsar Semiconductor, 146 Colonnade Rd. S., Nepean, ON, Canada K2E 7Y1; Mike O'Neill, (613) 274-0922, ext. 110; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: www.philsar.com.