Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ISSCC goes wireless

Intel and Atheros will square off next week at ISSCC when they both describe their latest 802.11n Wi-Fi chips. As usual, Intel has the edge in process technology using 90nm design rules for a 1x2 MIMO transceiver with integrated filters and power amp. But the 130nm Atheros part is no slouch with 2x2 MIMO and at least a similar level of integration.

STMicro will give a peak at the future with papers on a separate transmitter and receiver that handles Wi-Fi and WiMax at 2.4-2.7 GHz bands. Made in 65nm technology, the designs point the way to the kind of integrated comms parts Intel says it is planning for future Centrino notebooks.

Also of note in wireless, I see Georgia Institute of Tech will describe a 60 GHz radio in 90nm CMOS that consumes just 200mW but can kick out data at rates of 7-15 Gbits/s. It’s just an academic design, mind you, but the first 60 GHz radio I have seen described outside of the work of startup SiBeam which was one of the wireless stars of the recent CES.

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