Artimi demos working UWB chips

Slow now, USB 2.0 speed soon

Cambridge-based UK fabless semiconductor developer Artimi has begun showing off working ultrawideband (UWB) silicon ahead of shipping sample chips later this year, the company said this week.

However, the company tacitly admitted that volume production has slipped. While Artimi's web site states its plan to ship in volume "by the end of 2004", its announcement of the demo quotes the company's sales and marketing chief as saying: "Production silicon is on target for release in the first quarter of 2005."

Still, with the UWB standard-setting process in turmoil, that may not matter. The IEEE standards route is effectively gridlocked, forcing one group, the Multiband OFDM Alliance (MBOA), to go off-road and refine its own take on the technology, which it will submit back to the IEEE in due course. This, its members reckon, is the only way to ensure UWB can become a success.

Artimi is pitching the parts at Wireless USB, the Intel-led move to deliver USB traffic over UWB. "Real world data-rates in excess of 480Mbps are essential to deliver the USB 2.0 cable replacement products that many of our customers and partners desire for their next generation wireless devices," said Artimi CTO Mark Moore.

"Though the demonstration system is currently limited by the FPGAs, production systems will transfer data in excess of 500Mbps, and potentially at Gigabit speeds."

The demonstration rig comprises PC NDIS driver software, peripheral interfaces, MAC and PHY components, the radio's analog front end and the antenna it drives. Artimi's design implements UWB on a single chip. ®

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