SAN FRANCISCO – Amid a great wireless debate, STMicroelectronics revealed at ISSCC it is kicking the tires on the WirelessHD version of 60 GHz networking. So far only SiBeam Inc. has a 60 GHz short range wireless product, but multiple technologies are emerging to compete with its WirelessHD approach.
In a morning ISSCC session, SiBeam gave more technical details about its latest chip set, a hybrid supporting both WirelessHD and the rival WiGig Alliance's 60 GHz spec. An evening session gave an update on competition between WirelessHD, WiGig, the IEEE 802.11ac effort and other options in the labs.
For its part, STMicro was the silent partner in an ISSCC paper that described an integrated 60 GHz transceiver implementing in a single chip the full four channels of the WirelessHD spec. The 65nm part was a development vehicle co-designed by the CEA-LETI research institute in France.
LETI is testing several WirelessHD modules produced for ST, said Alexandre Siligaris, a LETI researcher and author of the ISSCC paper. The paper described one module measuring about 114mm2 that delivered 3.8 Gbits/second over a meter while consuming about 1.3 Watts.
An ST engineer would not say whether the company is considering a commercial offering, but it does own the intellectual property from the LETI work.
In another paper, SiBeam co-founder Chinh Doan described a two-chip set the company announced in May supporting WirelessHD and WiGig. It implements two 1.76 GHz WirelessHD channels and has a maximum power consumption of about 2 Watts in transmit mode when sending 3.8 Gbits/s of data up to about 10 meters.
The chips measure about 72 and 77 mm2, use up to 32 miniature antennas and are in production. A dual-mode WirelessHD/WiGig baseband IC is not yet in production from SiBeam.
In a separate paper, Maryam Tabesh of the University of California at Berkeley described a way to lower the power of 60 GHz chips using baseband phase shifting. Doan said the approach would not be practical for SiBeam which uses a fast shifting technique to quickly and flexibly handle beam forming.
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