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TI spins single chip for WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM

Feb 10, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 91 views

TI (Texas Instruments) says it is now sampling the industry's first single chip to provide 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, FM transmit/receive, and a GPS receiver. The WiLink 7.0 reduces costs by 30 percent, trims size by 50 percent, and has hardware mechanisms that cancel out any interference between radios, the company says.

According to TI, the WiLink 7.0 — to come in WL1281 and WL1283 versions, although the differences were not specified — is the industry's first chip that provides 802.11 wireless local area networking, Bluetooth personal area networking, an FM transmitter/receiver, and GPS. (The chipmaker's previous WiLink chips provide all of the above except for GPS.) As such, the device should become popular in phones, PNDs (personal navigation devices), and other mobile devices.

Giving a rough idea of the WL128x's size, TI released the image at right but did not specify actual dimensions. The single-chip device, manufactured using a 65nm process, is said to reduce cost by 30 percent and size by 50 percent compared to previous alternatives.

In addition, the WiLink 7.0 (left) has "unique" hardware mechanisms that cancel out board- and chip-level RF interference, ensuring that its multiple radios can all transmit and receive simultaneously without problems, says TI. This is true even in the case of WiFi and Bluetooth, where "enhanced low energy inter-core communication" is said to prioritize packet scheduling and support more parallel operations. TI adds that the chip's microscheduling capabilities allow antennas to be shared, where applicable.

According to TI, the WL128x has a Bluetooth core with "best-in-class RF performance" and Bluetooth 3.0 compatibility. The WiFi core, meanwhile, supports 802.11a/b/g/n capabilities as well as the soon-to-be-ratified WiFi Direct and SoftAP modes, the company adds.

As for the chip's new-found GPS receiver, TI says this offers "best-in-class 3GPP test performance," a multipath resolution engine that provides "more accurate positioning in urban canyons," and simplified integration with a device's host processor. The FM receiver has "increased output power" and highly sensitive reception, delivering "cleaner FM" with even an internal antenna, TI claims.

A block diagram of TI's WiLink 7.0 (WL128x)
(Click to enlarge)

TI did not offer power consumption information, but the WL128x's ELP (enhanced low power) technology is touted as offering "extended talk time and battery life."

Haviv Ilan, VP and GM of TI's wireless connectivity solutions group, stated, "As the first company to put the power of GPS, WLAN, Bluetooth and FM technologies on a single chip, we are excited to have solved some of the market's most complex coexistence challenges. With its ability to support simultaneous use of all four radios, the WiLink 7.0 solution will truly revolutionize the way people interact with their devices and connect to the larger world."

Lisa Arrowsmith, an analyst with IMS Research, was quoted as adding, "TI's announcement that its Bluetooth/FM/GPS/WLAN combination IC is sampling to major OEMs marks the first of its kind, … [enabling] device manufacturers to offer multiple radios without sacrificing performance, space requirements or profit margins. IMS Research forecasts that by 2013, more than 4.5 billion combination ICs featuring a variety of radios will have been shipped."

A video demonstrating TI's WiLink 7.0

Source: Texas Instruments


According to TI, the WiLink 7.0 (WL128x) is sampling now, and devices incorporating the chip should reach the market by the end of this year. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

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