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RPU core integrates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM receiver

20 Nov 2013

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The Ensigma Series4 "Explorer", a new family of radio processor unit (RPU) cores, has been launched by Imagination Technologies for SoCs employed in products including next-generation mobile, wearables, and other "Internet of Things" devices. These IP cores have combined Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM receiver capabilities and were designed using Imagination's fourth generation RPU programmable radio technology.

"Digital base band integration is a growing trend in high-volume markets as companies look to further reduce system costs and power consumption," said Martin Woodhead, EVP engineering for Ensigma at Imagination. "Ensigma RPUs are gaining traction as our customers increasingly recognise the benefits of bringing highly efficient and advanced communications processing on-chip. Imagination's position as an end-to-end provider of connectivity solutions, including RF, base band, firmware, software, support and certification make Imagination uniquely able to address this trend."

By making its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio receiver technologies available as configurable combo IP cores, Imagination is enabling a wide range of companies to achieve their performance, power and cost targets for next-generation applications. Imagination is building on its strength in integration based on its broad range of IP – applying that expertise to address one of the last bastions of SoC integration by bringing the digital base band on-chip.

The new Ensigma combo IP is available in a range of configurable cores starting with the C4531 with Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM for products including tablets, ultrabooks, gaming consoles and smart TVs and more. The C4521 integrates Wi-Fi 802.11ac 1x1 + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM for devices including smartphones and tablets while the C4511 provides Wi-Fi 802.11n 1x1 + Bluetooth + FM for products such as mobile handsets and wearables

Other technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) are also available and can be licens ('licence' when noun)ed stand-alone or in a combo configuration. For example, customers may choose to combine Bluetooth LE with FM for ultra low-power wearable applications.

The Ensigma combo IP cores leverage sophisticated algorithms to enable the coexistence of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM receiver in one solution. By incorporating these advanced algorithms and completely production-ready implementations of all supported standards, the cores are able to deliver better data throughput, sensitivity, and other key performance metrics, while minimising host processing and power requirements. Features of the coexistence algorithms include advanced scheduling algorithms based on Bluetooth TX/RX cycle prediction, coexistence-aware Carrier Sense, Packet Sync and Transmission, efficient base band/MAC level information sharing to track frequency and signal threshold adaptation and multiple packet priorities for QoS across Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well as support for an optional shared antenna and standard 2, 3, 4 wire interfaces.

Leveraging in-depth understanding of the interaction between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios when both are active simultaneously, as well as low-level control of both radios thanks to the programmability of the RPU, optimum performance can be achieved under all use cases.

The new Ensigma combo IP cores use a unified memory architecture for the lowest possible silicon footprint, minimising on-chip RPU memory demands for data and program ('programme' for plan) storage as well as removal of interface bottlenecks and processing requirements for USB/SDIO and reduction of off-chip communication and external I/Os for increased power savings. This also provides better host power management for reduced overall system power consumption.

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