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Integrated silicon flows at WiMax World

SAN JOSE, Calif. — GCT Semiconductor
announced a new integrated mobile WiMax chip Tuesday (Sept. 25), one of several silicon products for clients and basestations flowing from WiMax World in Chicago this week.

The GDM7205 is a mobile WiMax 2.5 GHz Wave 2 device that integrates RF, media access controller and physical layer on one CMOS chip. The 12mm x 12mm part complies with the IEEE 802.16e mobile WiMax standard and WiMax Forum Wave 2 certification requirements. GCT is sampling the chip now with plans for production volumes early next year.

The new chip will compete with a handful of existing WiMax devices including baseband devices from Sequans Communications. Sequans announced Monday that equipment maker Alvarion has selected its SQN2130 mobile WiMax chip for use in its upcoming pico base stations.

“Sequans' ability to provide both ends of the link gives us advantages in time to market and certification,” said Avinoam Barak, president of Alvarion's broadband wireless access division, in a prepared statement. “Their solution is complete, offering both PHY and MAC, flexibility for use in various licensed and unlicensed frequency bands and channel sizes, and software that can be adapted to meet our particular needs,” he added.

Separately, Analog Devices, Inc. introduced a new generation of small RF-to-digital baseband transceivers for mobile WiMax that aim to serve space-sensitive portable devices such as cellphones and PDAs.

The AD9354 and AD9355 operate in the 2.3- to 2.7-GHz and the 3.3- to 3.7-GHz ranges and support channel bandwidths of 3.5, 4.375, 5, 7, 8.75 and 10 MHz. They are available in a 20 percent smaller package than ADI's previous generation and provide multiple-input multiple-output support. The chips, housed in an 8 x 8mm package, are sampling now and cost $11.45 in sample volumes.

Freescale Semiconductor attacked the power amplifier part of WiMax base stations with its release Monday (Sept. 24) of three high power LDMOS RF chips. The devices support the 2.7 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, come in over-molded plastic packages and integrate multiple gain stages.

The MW7IC2725N, MW7IC2750N and MW7IC3825N devices are sampling now with production expected early next year.

For its part Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AMCC) rolled out an embedded processor aimed at a wide range of applications including wireless base stations. The PPC460GT delivers clock speeds ranging from 667MHz to 1.2 GHz with 2.0 Dhrystone MIPS/MHz. It supports up to four banks of ECC protected DDR2 SDRAM memory with a maximum capacity of 16 Gbytes.

The PPC460GT has an x4 SRIO port, two independent PCI Express interfaces, a 32-bit PCI V2.3 interface and a 32-bit external peripheral bus interface and four integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports. It includes a security engine that supports IPSec, SSL and DTLS.

AMCC will begin product sampling in the fourth quarter of 2007. Distributor suggested resale pricing starts at $55 in 25,000-unit quantities.

According to research firm, In-Stat, the global market for WiMax chipsets is expected to increase to 21 million units in 2011, up from three million in 2006. Much of that growth is expected to come in the mobile WiMax sector. Wireless service carriers, including Sprint Nextel and Clearwire Corp., are planning mobile WiMax deployment in the U.S. in conjunction with device manufacturers such as Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung.

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