MANHASSET, N.Y. Artimi Inc., convinced that Wi-Fi is too costly and that current ultrawideband offerings are far from meeting equipment vendors' cost, performance and time-to-market needs, has announced a single UWB chip that it believes solves the dilemma.
The chip combines an 800-Mbit/s pulse-position, modulation-based physical layer with an IEEE 802.15 media access control (MAC). Artimi said it would meet those demands while also offering full-home coverage using both wireless and powerline media.
While Artimi (Santa Clara, Calif.) is taking a page from Pulse-Link's CWave technology with the UWB-over-powerline twist, its use of pulse-position modulation (PPM) distinguishes it not just from Pulse-Link but also from the WiMedia Alliance and its multiband-OFDM approach as well as Freescale and its direct-sequence-UWB offering.
Artimi's RTMI-100 chip is designed around the belief that consumer electronics companies are not overly concerned about standard solutions, particularly for point solutions, said Colin Macnab, the company's recently appointed chief executive officer. Instead, the focus is on cost and availability.
Macnab moved to Artimi from Wi-Fi proponent Atheros, where he was vice president of marketing and business development. "You can do it [high-rate wireless] much less expensively with UWB."
The single-chip RTMI-100 is made using a 0.18-micron SiGe process from Chartered Semiconductor. "We can deliver product to customers this year," Macnab said, pointing to the lack of full WiMedia silicon and the many months of interoperability testing needed for multiple silicon implementations.
Key to the chip's design is PPM, a relatively simple scheme pioneered by companies like Time Domain Corp. While the design uses a simple transmitter, high data rates have traditionally been difficult to achieve due to the extremely tight timing and clock recovery required on the receiver end.
According to Mark Moore, chief technology officer at Artimi, the company has overcome those issues using advanced front-end processing. While the chip is currently being characterized, Macnab puts the power target at under 1 W.
The chip includes a fully 802.15.3-compliant MAC. Initial performance figures indicate a PHY capable of 800 Mbits/s or higher, said Macnab, but the company is aiming for an overall system throughput of 100 Mbits/s at 10 meters, he added. Over powerline, Macnab predicted rates in the 100 s of megabits/s. With a mesh networking protocol, wireless and powerline UWB capability, the company expects to achieve full-home coverage for video and multimedia streaming.
The company plans to demonstrate the chip this week, and is currently shipping samples. Volume production is expected in the second half of 2005. The RTMI100 mini PCI development kit will be available shortly.