XtremeSpectrum Rolls Out First UWB Chipset

XtremeSpectrum of Vienna, Va., Monday became the first company to deliver a commercial ultra-wideband (UWB) solution that will comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new rules for unlicensed usage. Achieving 100 megabits per second (Mbps) data rates and consuming less than 200 milliwatts (mW) of power, the company’s new solution, called Trinity, becomes the fastest commercial wireless solution available on the market.

The Trinity chipset is implemented using a modified compact flash form factor reference design. The reference design incorporates a patented omni-directional antenna design that is printed on standard printed circuit board material and can be manufactured in extremely high volumes. This antenna is a critical component for meeting the FCC’s spectral mask as well as in delivering the performance capability of the complete system solution.

Dubbed the first “Moore’s Law radio” — a wireless chipset that scales performance in direct proportion to improvements in semiconductor process technology with no need for enhancements to the basic system architecture — the Trinity chipset will continue to get faster by moving to a faster process technology.

Unlike conventional wireless technologies, which need enhanced signal processing techniques to improve performance, the Trinity chipset requires no change in architecture to improve performance. This is a key feature for consumer electronics OEMs because of the need to scale performance with no impact on cost or power consumption.

“The availability of a commercial ultra-wideband solution will have a tremendous, and very positive impact, on the consumer electronics industry,” said Martin Rofheart, CEO of XtremeSpectrum. “The desire for wireless connectivity between consumer electronic devices has been great, but, to date, there hasn’t been a technology that could simultaneously deliver the consumer market’s three critical criteria: low price, low power and high data rate. Trinity — as its name implies — is the first chipset to do so, and will enable a new class of consumer electronics products to deliver ‘wire-like’ video quality using a wireless medium.”

The Trinity chipset is available to select customers for $19.95 each in quantities of 100,000. Customers will have access to a UWB physical layer evaluation kit. The evaluation kit is available for $50,000. Commercial production of the Trinity solution is expected in first half 2003.

“Ultra-wideband represents the first ‘no-compromise’ wireless technology because it simultaneously offers the high data rate, low power consumption and low cost that consumer electronics OEMs have been waiting for,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. “While 802.11b and 802.11a will continue to play a strong role in the enterprise and public access market, ultra-wideband is the first wireless technology that is capable of streaming digital video and audio at price points the average consumer can afford. Ultra-wideband offers a solution to a segment of the market that is as yet unserved, and one that I believe will fundamentally change the way consumers use multimedia devices.”

According to Bharath Rajagopalan, manager of the Home Theater and Portable Entertainment Business Unit of Texas Instruments, “The ability to deliver full HD video wirelessly, and with high fidelity, will be an increasingly important ingredient in delivering HD digital video content to high resolution projectors utilizing DLP technology. The ‘wire-like’ quality of ultra-wideband shows great potential for fulfilling this need and XtremeSpectrum’s Trinity product offers the market the first opportunity to validate the benefits of this exciting new wireless technology.”

Ultra-wideband is a wireless technology that transmits an extremely low power signal over a wide swath of radio spectrum. Unlike conventional radio systems that operate within a relatively narrow bandwidth, i.e., Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a, ultra-wideband operates across a wide range of frequency spectrum by transmitting a series of very narrow and low power pulses.

The combination of broader spectrum, lower power and pulsed data means that ultra-wideband causes less interference than conventional narrowband radio solutions, and delivers wire-like performance in an indoor wireless environment. This makes ultra-wideband technology ideal for consumer electronics applications that are increasingly multimedia-rich in content.

The high data rate and low power consumption are ideal for multimedia-centric products, such as digital displays, camcorders, DVD players, digital video recorders and digital cameras, to send and receive digital streams of audio and video.

XtremeSpectrum will focus on customers in the OEM consumer electronic, OEM PC, PC-peripheral manufacturing, and wireless networking ODM/OEM spaces.

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