NEWS BRIEFS, August 2001


Internet, cellular usage creates demand for wireless WANs


The international Internet craze and the growing popularity of cell phones in countries without a wire line infrastructure are expected to increase demand for wireless wide area network (W-WAN) equipment, according to research firm Frost and Sullivan, San Jose.


New analysis from the company, World Wireless Wide Area Network Markets, reveals that this industry generated revenues of $4.59 billion in 2000 and projects it to increase to $15.62 billion by 2007.


While global Internet use is growing, many countries struggle to provide basic telephone service. With the challenge of laying cable through new territory, providers are relying on wireless network technology to supply a less expensive, easy-to-install alternative to a wire line base.


Xemics, Conexant team on Bluetooth device


Xemics, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, a fabless semiconductor company specializing in ultra-low-power, short-range wireless connectivity solutions, announces that it has selected Conexant's, Mountain View, CA, Bluetooth radio as the preferred radio device to implement its ultra-low power Bluetooth solution.  The Conexant radio device CX72303, in combination with the XEMICS Bluetooth base band XE1431 and the XEMICS CODEC XE3006 allow for a complete wireless headset, from microphone to speaker, consuming less than 35mW during continuous operation (HV3 Bluetooth profile).


Intel Debuts Latest Media Switches For Gigabit Ethernet


Intel Corp. unveiled the Media Switch IXE5416 16-port gigabit device at its bi-annual Intel Developer Forum, aimed at easing the corporate migration to Gigabit Ethernet.  Intel said the switch allows OEMs to build high-bandwidth, highly scalable, plug-and-play Ethernet switches.  It offers 16 triple-speed (10/100/1000 Mbit/sec.) ports and an IXE5416 system can automatically configure each switch port to the speed of each PC’s network interface card.  Intel also rolled out the IXE2424 and IXE2426 10/100+Gigabit media switch devices that offer four-gigabit ports, two more than the previous generation, in addition to 24-10/100 gigabit ports.


Intel Outlines Unplugged Future For Laptops


At the Intel Developers Forum in San Jose on Aug. 29, 2001, Intel representatives unveiled its unplugged roadmap for enabling laptop computers to function as mobile Internet terminals with the ability to roam at will across a variety of wireless access platforms. The platform will be based on a new mobile processor architecture, processor and mobile chipset, code-named "Banias," that will employ a new core design that has been optimized for mobile applications.  Designed specifically with mobile applications in mind, Banias will give laptop manufacturers the ability to create products that feature the power consumption and standby time performance features currently found in cell phones.  As a result, says Intel, laptops will be able to expand upon their current roles as portable devices into full-fledged mobile terminals with the ability to function in any environment within reach of a Bluetooth, 802.11, WLAN or even cell-phone networks.


Rappore Rolls Out Bluetooth On Chip Technology

Rappore Technologies has introduced an embeddable Bluetooth technology that features a low instruction set overhead and a small 1K-memory footprint.  The product offering reportedly achieves Bluetooth functionality independent of operating system, OS-dependent Bluetooth drivers, protocol stacks, or radio/baseband silicon.  The technology, which resides in a microcontroller's addressable ROM, is targeted at small, memory-constrained designs for consumer, automotive, medical and industrial applications.  Rappore Technologies has already prototyped its Bluetooth On Chip on the Microchip PIC17XXX family of microcontrollers.  The company also intends to port the technology to other embedded devices, such as the Intel MCS51 family of microcontrollers.


Infineon Samples GSM/GPRS Chip


Infineon Technologies AG is sampling a GPRS (general packet radio service) class 12 chip that is designed for use in handsets that support enhanced GSM high speed data services.  This baseband chip supports multimedia features, such as mobile commerce and WAP (wireless application protocol) over GPRS, and also provides the option for an MP3 decoder for audio (music) playback over the phone, the Munich, Germany-based Company said.  Called the E-GOLD+ V3, the chip is a GSM/GPRS single chip mixed signal baseband IC containing both analog and digital circuits required in the handset.  It includes 2Mbit on-chip SRAM.  E-GOLD+ V3 is based on Infineon’s C166 controller and is manufactured in a 0.18 micron CMOS process. The chip is available in a P-LFBGA 208 package with volume production scheduled for the second quarter 2002.


Broadcom Launches BCM5434 Gigabit Ethernet-over-Copper Transceiver


Broadcom Corporation is sampling the latest member of its QuadSquad family of Gigabit quad transceivers, which have reportedly been optimized for high port density Gigabit Ethernet switches and routers.  Employing a 0.13-micron Gigabit physical layer (PHY) architecture, the BCM5434 offers designers their choice of four-pin connection Serialized/Deserializer (SerDes) to the Switch/MAC, or a Serial Gigabit Media Independent Interfaces (SGMII) in an alternate six-pin MAC/PHY configuration.  Incorporating all three Ethernet speeds of 10, 100, and 1000 Mbit/sec, the chip features standards-based auto-negotiation as well as a Unique Ethernet@Wirespeed technology that has been designed to enable the chip to auto-negotiate at the maximum speed possible over an impaired cable plant.  The BCM5434 has also been designed to exceed IEEE specifications for noise cancellation and transmit jitter.  In addition, a cable diagnostic capability has been added that will allow end-users to remotely analyze the quality and attributes of the cable.


Cirrus Logic Inks Manufacturing Deal With China’s CSMC

Austin-based Cirrus Logic Inc. has signed a five-year wafer services foundry agreement with China’s Central Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (CSMC).  CSMC will produce Cirrus’ analog and digital semiconductor devices, Cirrus said, strengthening the company’s visibility in China.  CSMC will first begin manufacturing Cirrus’ CMOS-based mixed signal consumer ICs, and both companies said they expect CSMC to soon begin producing a larger variety of Cirrus products.  China is expected to become the second largest market in the world by 2010.  According to research company Gartner Dataquest, the China semiconductor market is projected to grow at a rate of 6 percent to 13 percent this year, a sharp contrast to the expected decline of roughly 25 percent for the rest of the world.  CSMC was founded in Hong Kong in 1997 and its fab is located in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.  It has a 6-inch production line at a capacity of 11,000 wafers per month, and a 5-inch production line at 7,000 wafers per month.