Industry Converges upon San Jose for Wireless Symposium

By Robert Fee, Associate Editor,

The Wireless Portable Symposium & Exhibition, in the past, has been one of the industry's larger gatherings. And when 372 companies in 660 exhibitor booths and more than 4,800 wireless engineers, designers, developers, managers, and executives convened upon San Jose, CA February 12-16 for this years event, it was assured that 2001 would not be an exception. According the show's website, these numbers represent record breaking participation levels for the ninth annual convention. They are also representative of the new technologies currently becoming more and more popular.

"We're seeing the industry starting to make a big move beyond cellular service into areas like local-area and personal-area networking," said Show Director Bill Rutledge in a statement on the show website. "We've responded with dozens of new conference sessions on Bluetooth, 802.11 and HomeRF technologies. The reception, from both exhibitors and attendees, has been fantastic."

Among those attending and exhibiting at the show were six Wireless Design & Development® staff members. In addition to meeting with many of our readers, we attended numerous product briefings. Here are some highlights.

Agilent Technologies introduced two new pieces of test equipment. The first, the Agilent 89600 Vector Signal Analyzer (VSA), promises to shorten Third Generation (3G) communications device and infrastructure design cycles and accelerate time to market. Designers of 3G and other digitally modulated radios can now perform virtual system evaluation, using dynamic links from the 89600 VSA to the Agilent Advanced Design System (ADS) and new links from the ADS to the ESG series Signal Generator. The VSA can measure either actual hardware or simulated output from the ADS when the system's hardware blocks are incomplete. The ADS link to the ESG signal generator, with its dual-channel arbitrary waveform generator, can take the simulated output of one hardware block's circuit simulation, and download it to the signal generator to simulate the next stage's actual hardware.

Agilent also introduced its Handset Power Amplifier (PA) ValiFire system. This PA is the first in a planned series of solutions integrating electronic design automation (EDA) tools and test and measurement equipment. The Handset PA ValiFire system helps shrink the development cycle by reducing the time needed to set up and configure test assemblies and write test code for design verification. It also allows easy comparison and correlation of simulated versus measured results.

MTI-Milliren Technologies, Inc. introduced the 220 Series OCXOs. They measure 0.975 L × 0.800 W × 0.500 H (24.8 × 20.3 × 12.7 mm) and are available with either 12 V, 5 V, or 3.3 V supply voltages. This series covers frequencies from 4.8 MHz to 125 MHz and achieve the necessary performance characteristics normally associated with larger designs by using a full size TO-8 (HC-37) quartz housing. Features include a thermal stability of 2.0E-08 over a 100 ° C temperature range, warm up time of less than 5 minutes, and power consumption of 1.0 W at 25 ° C. Also featured is a phase noise @ 1 Hz offset of – 95 dBc/Hz with a noise floor of – 155 dBc/Hz. Devices are delivered in hermetic 16 pin dip or surface mount packages, or can be modified with foot-print adapter boards to fit current designs.

Philips Semiconductors announced a new process technology aimed at producing high performance chips for next generation mobile products. The new process, named QUBiC4, allows production of Radio Frequency Chips that meet the high speed and low power requirements of advanced mobile networks using BiCMOS processing, a silicon-only approach. QUBiC4 represents the latest generation of Phillips' "Quality BiCMOS" processing technology.

Raytheon Company also focused on 802.11 applications by introducing Tondelayo™, a 5 GHz Radio Chipset Solution. The 54 Mbps radio chipset is based on the IEEE 802.11(a) standard for high speed wireless networks in the 5 GHz UNII bands and chipset includes a power amplifier/switch module, RF, IF and Baseband component chips. The complete solution, using C-OFDM modulation in a flexible low-risk design approach, includes CardBus and PCI reference designs and a suite of drivers. The chipset consists of the RTPA-5250 PA/switch, the RTCV-5500 Low Noise Amplifier, the RTCV-5500 LNA Up/Down converter and RTIF-5500 IF converter ICs, and the RT B5500 Baseband IC. All the components in Tondelayo are designed to work together.

The Tondelayo chipset

Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector announced that they had completed the qualification of a silicon germanium carbon module within their radio frequency BiCMOS wafer process technology. Motorola demonstrated integrated HBTs in their RF BiCMOS flow, with performance of 45 GHz and 90 GHz for ft and fmax respectively, at half the current of traditional SiGe transistors. The addition of carbon provides manufacturing latitude and a low noise figure.

A diagram of Motorola's silicon germanium carbon module

ON Semiconductor, Inc. announced an addition to their sub-1 volt integrated circuit family. The NCS2001 is a low power, rail-to-rail input and output CMOS operational amplifier that provides sub-1 volt operation significant for designers using 0.9 volt operating cores in their microprocessors, DSPs, or microcontrollers. The device maximizes the functionality within a circuit for low supply voltage operation because it has a wider supply voltage. It can be used in portable communications device, sensor interfaces, active filter, PCMCIA cards, ASIC input drivers, and DSP interfaces.

The NCS2001 from ON Semiconductor

Analog Devices, Inc. introduced a new family of dual phase locked loop (PLL) synthesizers. The inclusion of an on-board oscillator circuit permits inexpensive crystal sources to be used as frequency references. The PLL consists of a low-noise digital phase frequency detector, a precision charge pump, a programmable reference divider, programmable A and B counters, and a dual-modulus prescalar (P/P1).

Analog Device's dual phase locked loop synthesizers

Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas (SMA) showcased their next generation liquid crystal display technology. Sharp's ASV technology provides a wide viewing angle, high contrast display, and fast response time. In most versions, ASV eliminates pixel defects resulting from nonfunctional transistors. This improvement in LCD technology is the result of new design methodologies, new materials, and manufacturing processes. Sharp is initially offering ASV LCD technology for its thin-film transistor industrial control and large screen applications. Variants of the standard ASV also will be offered to select markets.

Sharp Microelectronics liquid crystal display

These are, of course, just a few of the products that were introduced at the show. Many others are featured in this issue of Wireless Design & Development.