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Freescale Unveils UWB Roadmap To 1-Gbit/s Wireless Links

MANHASSET, N.Y. — Freescale Semiconductor Inc. will use the Wireless Connectivity World Expo in Amsterdam this week to unveil an aggressive silicon roadmap to 1-Gbit/s ultrawideband connectivity, based on its direct-sequence technology, by the second half of 2005.

With an emphasis on consumer applications, the roadmap includes four distinct stages of availability, data rates and levels of integration. "What matters about this is that we've go 110-Mbit/s [chips] commercialized and they will be out in Q3 this year," said Martin Rofheart, director of UWB Operations at Freescale (Vienna, Va.). "We also have a 220 [-Mbit/s chip set], which we'll be sampling in Q4 this year, and we're putting a stake in the ground on higher data rates, and we will have a 480- and a 1-Gbit [chip] that we'll be sampling next year," he added.

All will use the IEEE 802.15.3 media access control (MAC) and will be based on the DS-UWB proposal now before the 802.15.3a task group.

The 110-Mbit chip set includes three chips, eventually dropping to two chips for the 220-Mbit/s version, which Rofheart said will sample in the fourth quarter of this year. Both will use a SiGe process for the receiver front end, though Freescale expects to have moved to all-CMOS by the time the 1-Gbit/s chips emerge. At that point, the company will move to a single-chip design.

Though Freescale is one of the chief supporters of the common signaling mode (CSM), a scheme that it believes will allow multiple disparate UWB radios to coexist, Rofheart said the initial chips will not have the CSM built in. "But by the time we get to 1 Gbit, we probably will," he added.

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