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IP core from Imagination combines Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Posted: 17 Apr 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Imagination Technologies  Wi-Fi  Bluetooth  IP core  processor 

Imagination Technologies has unveiled a number of Ensigma cores powering Wi-Fi/Bluetooth links that compete with ARM and Ceva in IP for consumer wireless chips. According to the company, the IP blocks are geared for Internet of Things (IoT) designs.

Semiconductor and IP companies have traditionally focused on performance, reach and throughput in their wireless devices while shirking power and board space, said Chakra Parvathaneni, VP of Imagination's wireless group. "We're trying to bring a 2x or so better power and much more battery efficiency for sleep power. This is a new way that we believe every other chip vendor or connectivity technology vendor will be going as IoT matures."

The company's three IP cores, dubbed Ensigma Whisper radio processing units (RPUs), use a Series5 architecture to integrate Wi-Fi 802.11n (C5400), Bluetooth Smart (C5300), or a combination of the two standards (C5401). The RPUs consist of a cluster of programmable MIPS processors that Imagination officials hope will straddle the line between software-defined chips and heavy hardware acceleration.

Block diagram for C5401

Block diagram for C5401. (Source: Imagination)

Although Imagination did not provide specs on low power, Parvathaneni said Bluetooth Low Energy on a MCU such as the C5300 should operate at sub 8mW during transmission. Imagination's Wi-Fi module tends to consume about 72mW in active receive mode. The Bluetooth/Wi-Fi combo core "is closer to C5400 numbers," he said.

Three-processor cluster targets higher-level processing

Various CPU configurations allow for a more basic design for send-and-receive devices, while at least a three-processor cluster is designed for higher-level processing. (Source: Imagination)


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