IEEE 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 IP for low-power applications

June 02, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
IEEE 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 IP for low-power applications
Imagination Technologies Ltd. has launched its iEW400 integrated RF and based for IEEE 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 modems.

The IP core is based on Imagination’s Ensigma Wi-Fi technology and is intended for low-power and battery-powered applications such as the internet of things (IoT), wearables and hearables.

Designed to operate with 2.4GHz and 5GHz carriers it includes integrated RF, AFE, baseband PHY and MAC. It is supplied as a hard macro for analog circuitry and synthesisable RTL for the digital part. The design occupies 6.84 square millimeters in die area, including analog pads, in TSMC's 40nm LP manufacturing process.

The Wi-Fi 6 standard brings such features as selectable 20MHz and 40MHz bandwidth channels, improved robustness and power saving compared with previous Wi-Fi standards.

Wi-Fi 6 enables low-data-rate applications to conserve battery power, and extended deep-sleep periods. Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) enables bandwidth to be segmented for the efficient transmission of data, reducing power consumption, whilst improving robustness and data throughput.

The iEW400 provides dual sub-carrier modulation (DCM), which enables increased robustness for low data rates, together with an optional upper MAC available to offload work from the host processor to reduce total system power consumption. There is also an optional power management unit (PMU) supporting 2.7V to 4.5V DC.

All the moves supporting increased power efficiency support the use of Wi-Fi 6 for battery-operated equipment in applications such as IoT.

"Wi-Fi 6 IP has the potential to completely disrupt the connected IoT sector. By providing a total solution, comprising of integrated RF and baseband from a single source, any microcontroller company wishing to enter the connected MCU market can easily do so with iEW400," said Gerry Conlon, executive vice president of Ensigma at Imagination Technologies, in a statement. "Furthermore, it can be paired with our Bluetooth Low Energy solutions for a true Wi-Fi 6 plus Bluetooth Low Energy v5.2 combo IC."

Related links and articles:

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