High Performance Transceiver Debuts

By Eric Griffith

July 31, 2002

A Florida company is bringing its wireless division out of stealth mode to announce its first product: a line of transmitter-receivers for home and work WLANs.

ParkerVision of Jacksonville, FL, a company probably better known for its television video production equipment, is bring its sister division out of stealth mode to launch a new product. The company's Direct2Data Technologies is the developer of new 802.11b WLAN radio transceiver chips, based on a technology for RF data extraction and modulation it calls D2D.

The chips, the VP-1000 line, will include a transceiver directed at products for the home (the VP-1000Eh) and a slightly more expensive version for the enterprise with more sensitivity and range (the VP-1000Eb).

David Sorrells, ParkerVision's CTO and wireless division co-founder, explains the difference between the two chips: "The home market's number one criterion is cost. Performance is big, but cost is number one. In the enterprise, cost is secondary to performance."

The D2D technology is optimized for direct conversion transceivers, replacing traditional two-stage superheterodyne frequency mixers and translators that have been around for decades. Sorrells says, "This chip represents the first time a direct conversion architecture has the cost size and performance and power consumption that's as good as super heterodyne that it replaces."

He also claims it's the highest integration ever for a transceiver.

"Other reference designs have up to 220 parts. Some claim to have them down to 150. Ours has less than 60 parts. We are at another level of integration," says Sorrells.

The direct conversion-based PV-1000 line will be compatible with all baseband processors designed for superheterodyne or Zero-IF transceivers. The company expects the lower costs for making the transceiver will lead to lower costs for SOHO and enterprise 802.11b original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Direct conversion transceivers are expected to be big in the next few years. A February report from iSuppli Corp. said that by 2005, 95% of all GSM cellular handsets alone will have direct conversion receivers. WLAN and cordless phones will, obviously, also benefit.

Sorrells says to look for hard specifications about the chips on their Web site in a couple of weeks, with more information to follow on reference designs and evaluation kits for customers. Direct2Data expects to have PV-1000 transceivers in full production in four to six months.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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