LONDON Infineon Technologies AG and TTP Communications Ltd. have separately announced support for the low-power modes and new security and switching features of Bluetooth version 1.0b.
Developers working with the Bluetooth wireless spec tested their 1.0b implementations in Sophia Antipolis, France, last month at Unplugfest-3, a closed interoperability workshop partly organized by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. Thus far TTPCom (Cambridge, England) and Infineon (Munich, Germany) have claimed to meet the standard.
TTPCom said that among the refinements covered in 1.0b are "hold, sniff and park" modes, whereby master Bluetooth nodes can control slave Bluetooth nodes, providing opportunities for power savings as well as support for "piconets" and "scatternets."
Infineon's BlueMoon I two-chip set is its first official entry into the Bluetooth r ace, where it joins TTPCom and such others as Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd., Parthus Technologies plc and Silicon Wave Inc.
Infineon is sampling the BlueMoon I, which comprises an integrated baseband, link manager and host controller interface chip in 0.25-micron CMOS, along with a separate BiCMOS RF transceiver. The company expects products incorporating BlueMoon I to be in customers' hands this year, and it hopes to sample an all-CMOS single-chip BlueMoon sometime in 2001.
"Our baseband includes integrated memory up to 2 Mbits of ROM, although we also have a flash interface for prototyping," said Ivar Johansson, director of technical marketing for the cordless systems group at Infineon. "We support all the mandatory profiles of Bluetooth 1.0b."
Johansson said Infineon also will license the baseband circuitry and protocols.
The chip set is the first public announcement of Bluetooth capability by Infineon, but the move was not unexpected. The company has been a major supplier of GSM mo bile phone chip sets for years and has produced more than 25 million transceiver chips for DECT phones and WDCT systems, which operate in the same frequency bands as Bluetooth.
"Our BlueMoon chip set presents a competitive industry benchmark for performance, miniaturization and high-volume manufacturability of Bluetooth-enabled devices," said Guenter Weinberger, senior vice president and general manager of the wireless systems group at Infineon. "We've designed a system that is fully software-tunable and highly adaptable to any modifications made to the Bluetooth specification."
Johansson would only discuss the pricing of Infineon's BlueMoon I chip set in the context of a complete bill-of-materials (BOM) for adding Bluetooth capability. "The BOM is less than $17 for 1 million units," he said.
Johansson said the chip set, which operates from a 2.7-volt power supply, consumes 30 milliamps in active mode but also supports a variety of power-down modes. Various parts of the baseband can be switched off, and a user can switch off the standard,13-MHz system clock and use an integrated low-power oscillator that runs at 300 kHz.
TTPCom's solution, meanwhile, is a baseband-only design available for license together with the option to license a host protocol stack. TTPCom also has adopted a multiple-clock solution, but it opted for an off-chip watch crystal ticking at 32 kHz for its baseband-only offering.
"Our Bluetooth offering is aimed mainly at semiconductor manufacturers who want to embed Bluetooth in their products," said Neil Werdmuller, Bluetooth program manager at TTPCom. "Many of these companies have their own RF solutions."
Written in portable VHDL and ANSI C code, TTPCom's offering lets customers integrate the baseband design with their own ASIC designs. Werdmuller said the TTPCom design has been implemented in silicon FPGAs for prototyping and that several customers are close to tape-out.
Bluetooth 1.1 is in the pipeline but it is not likely to be available until November.
Charles Sturman, wireless silicon design manager at TTPCom, said Bluetooth baseband power consumption with the company's solution is a few tens of milliwatts in active mode. "It will be 20 to 30 mW, that kind of number, for one connection. But what's important is the real-life power consumption the integrated performance over multiple mode transitions which is much more a question of software. We're looking for sub-microwatt consumption in sleep mode."
Sturman said he believes Bluetooth active RF power consumption industrywide is running at about the same level as for active baseband sections. "I think it's about 50-50, but that's quite good: It tells managers there's scope to save power in both areas."
Infineon's Johansson said he believes Bluetooth 1.1 will primarily resolve the ambiguities of interpretation that plagued earlier versions of the standard. "The architecture we have chosen is firmware-based. We don't expect to need a new spin of the silicon, which could slow other peop le down three months. I believe our solution is one of the most flexible."