Agere, CSR Put Parts toward Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Module

By Eric Griffith

June 17, 2003

Taiwanese manufacturer Universal Scientific Industrial is releasing a module supporting simultaneous Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections for small devices, featuring chips from Agere and Cambridge Silicon Radio.

Hot on the heels of Texas Instruments (TI) announcing a coexistence package for its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips so they'll work together in harmony in small devices like phone handsets and PDAs, comes word from the Bluetooth Developers Congress in Amsterdam of a similar solution from a mix of vendors.

Taiwanese manufacturer Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) will be releasing a module for small devices that will feature Bluetooth technology based on the BlueCore integrated circuit from Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) plus WaveLAN 802.11b chips (with full baseband/MAC and 2.4GHz transceiver) from Agere Systems .

According to David Favreau, director of Wi-Fi marketing for Agere, the module will measure 22x29x3 millimeters -- about one-fifth the size of a miniPCI module used in laptops today -- and have a on-board, solderless connector to integrate the module directly with customer platforms.

"We're targeting any portable that would benefit from wireless, like PDAs, smart phones, notebooks (though that's not the main market), even cameras and camcorders and printers," says Favreau.

To get the two technologies to work simultaneously -- Bluetooth and 802.11b both run in the 2.4GHz band and are prone to interfere with each other, especially when the chips are placed so close together -- the module will use time division, so that neither really runs at the same time, but it will appear they do from a user perspective. This is based on a technology CSR created called channel skipping.

Agere also says the module will feature an "ultra low 'standby' power mode," much like TI, which prides itself on saving power in standby mode, since that the mode handheld devices are in the majority of the time.

Favreau says "We already have a number of customers designing this product into their platforms... including a major PC OEM using this as the solution of choice for a PDA application."

USI won't reveal the final cost of the module. Sampling will begin in the third quarter of this year, with volume production by USI to begin by the fourth quarter.

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