Improving the Single-Chip

By Eric Griffith

June 07, 2004

Philips improves on its all-in-one Wi-Fi chip by reducing the size, cutting the number of components, and introducing Bluetooth co-existence features.

Last year, Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands first introduced a Wi-Fi "System-in-Package" (SiP), a wireless chipset that brought the number of components down to 26 and reduced the overall size, making it a solution ready for small products such as handsets and PDAs needing 802.11b support.

This week in the Netherlands at the Wireless Connectivity World Exhibition, the company unveiled its next generation SiP. They further reduce the component count, the overall size and power consumption, and Philips says it will co-exist without interference when used with its new Bluetooth SiPs.

The new 802.11b SiP -- Philips stresses the SiP term over chip, as the units consist of a single unit attached to a printed circuit board -- is called BGW200. It will measure 150 x 150 mm (compared to 276 x 276 mm on the previous unit) and will have "30 fewer components than its closest competitor" according to the company announcement. Standby power will be 2mW.

The chips will be specifically integrated with the Philips BGB203/4 SiPs for Bluetooth. To avoid problems with the hopping Bluetooth signal hitting the 802.11 frequency, there is Adaptive Frequency Hopping in the Bluetooth 1.2 specification. But according to Paul Marino, vice president and general manager of Connectivity at Philips Semiconductors, the 802.15.2 specification doesn't have anything more than guidelines for companies to avoid interference.

The Philips SiPs for 802.11b and Bluetooth, if used in the same device, are designed to "quickly identify when one transmits [and] shuts the other off," says Marino. "We believe we're achieving superior performance without sacrificing throughput."

Philips doesn't make public who is using its chips, leaving that to the customer to announce.

The new chipsets will be sampling in July and in production in the fourth quarter.

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