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Fujitsu Announces WiMax Chips

Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of its WiMax silicon, Fujitsu Microelectronics America (FMA) has gone public with its own 802.16-2004-based System-on-a-Chip (SoC) for wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (WMAN) and the partners who'll be using it.

The chip, called the MB87M3400, is designed to be used in both base stations and subscriber stations in non-line of sight (NLOS) deployments. It will work in both licensed radio bands and unlicensed, as long as they're under the 11GHz band.

The SoC includes its own RISC processing engine to control the MAC (media access control) layer and other features such as user application software, plus a second RISC/DSP chip that co-processes lower-level MAC functions. The PHY (physical) layer uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) 256 modulation, and has a programmable frequency to hit the frequency band wanted. The SoC includes its own encryption/decryption engines, Ethernet interface, and a memory controller.

Big names have already signed on to use FMA's chip, including Aperto Networks, which will use the SoC in its PacketWave base stations. They expect to be ready for the first WiMax Forum plugfest in July, which will take place at the CETECOM certification lab in Malaga, Spain. (Aperto is also working with Intel's PRO/Wireless 5116 WiMax chips for some consumer-class CPEs.)

ZTE Corporation—a major supplier of telecom equipment in China—is also building the MB87M3400 in base and subscriber stations.

Wi-LAN is currently showing its own Libra MX platform at Broadband Wireless World in Las Vegas using the FMA's SoC, where Fujitsu also announced the availability of the chipset. Wi-LAN, which owns many patents related to OFDM, has been working with FMA on WiMax since 2002.

FMA is working with SiGe Semiconductor on a reference design for OEMs to use when building products based on the SoC, using SiGe's RF transceiver chips. This design will go to the WiMax Forum for interoperability testing to give OEMs assurance that using it will lead to fast interoperability in final products.

The MB87M3400 will cost $45 in quantities of 1,000.