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Imagination announces world’s first Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM combo IP

Highly configurable Ensigma Series4 RPU family features 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0, delivering unique low-power SoC solutions for mobile, wearables, IoT and more

London, UK – 18 November, 2013 – Imagination Technologies (IMG.L) announces the world’s first IP that combines Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM receiver in one configurable solution. With this combination of technologies, a new family of Ensigma Series4 ‘Explorer’ radio processor unit (RPU) cores provides an ideal range of solutions for integration onto System-on-Chips (SoCs) targeting a range of next-generation mobile, wearables, IoT and other connected products.

Says Martin Woodhead, EVP engineering for Ensigma, Imagination: “Digital baseband integration is a growing trend in high-volume markets as companies look to further reduce system costs and power consumption. Ensigma RPUs are gaining traction as our customers increasingly recognize the benefits of bringing highly efficient and advanced communications processing on-chip. Imagination’s position as an end-to-end provider of connectivity solutions, including RF, baseband, firmware, software, support and certification make Imagination uniquely able to address this trend.”

By making its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio receiver technologies available as configurable combo IP cores, Imagination is enabling a wide range of companies to achieve their performance, power and cost targets for next-generation applications. Imagination is building on its strength in integration based on its broad range of IP – applying that expertise to address one of the last bastions of SoC integration by bringing the digital baseband on-chip.

A range of combo IP cores
The new Ensigma combo IP is available in a range of configurable cores including:

  • C4531: Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM for products including tablets, ultrabooks, gaming consoles, smart TVs and more
  • C4521: Wi-Fi 802.11ac 1x1 + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM for devices including smartphones and tablets
  • C4511: Wi-Fi 802.11n 1x1 + Bluetooth + FM for products such as mobile handsets and wearables

Other technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) are also available and can be licensed standalone or in a combo configuration. For example, customers may choose to combine Bluetooth LE with FM for ultra low-power wearable applications.

As the newest members of the Ensigma ‘Explorer’ family, the new combo IP cores are built using the fourth generation of Imagination’s RPU programmable radio technology. At the heart of this technology is a powerful and uniquely optimized balance of programmability and hardware configurability, delivering impressive functionality in compact silicon area.

Advanced coexistence algorithms
The new Ensigma combo IP cores leverage sophisticated algorithms to enable the coexistence of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM receiver in one solution. By incorporating these advanced algorithms and completely production-ready implementations of all supported standards, the cores are able to deliver better data throughput, sensitivity, and other key performance metrics, while minimizing host processing and power requirements. Features of the coexistence algorithms include:

  • Advanced scheduling algorithms based on Bluetooth TX/RX cycle prediction
  • Coexistence-aware Carrier Sense, Packet Sync and Transmission
  • Efficient baseband/MAC level information sharing to track frequency and signal threshold adaptation
  • Multiple packet priorities for QoS across Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Optional shared antenna
  • Support for standard 2, 3, 4 wire interface

Leveraging in-depth understanding of the interaction between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios when both are active simultaneously, as well as low-level control of both radios thanks to the programmability of the RPU, optimum performance can be achieved under all use cases.

Designed for SoC integration
The new Ensigma combo IP cores were built from the ground-up for integration into next-generation SoCs, leading to reduced power, footprint and bill-of-materials compared with conventional solutions. Advantages include:

  • Unified memory architecture for the lowest possible silicon footprint
  • Maximum use of unified system memory, minimizing on-chip RPU memory demands for data and program storage
  • Removal of interface bottlenecks and processing requirements for USB/SDIO
  • Reduction of off-chip communication and external I/Os for increased power savings
  • Better host power management for reduced overall system power consumption

Together with PowerVR graphics processors (GPUs), PowerVR video/vision processors (VPUs), MIPS CPUs, FlowCloud IP and other Imagination solutions, Ensigma RPUs are key elements of Imagination’s comprehensive IP portfolio for tomorrow’s connected processors.

The Ensigma Series4 combo IP cores are available for licensing now. Contact for more information.

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