Broadcom puts Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio on a chip

Broadcom has put Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an FM radio on a single 65nm CMOS chip

Silicon vendor Broadcom has put Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an FM radio on a single 65nm CMOS chip. The device should cut the cost -- and power demands -- of Wi-Fi enabled phone handsets, and hasten converged phone services.

Although Marvell announced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on a chip last year, that was a larger chip using 90nm CMOS. Broadcom's BMC4325 has got ahead of the game by using a smaller lower-power technology -- and throwing in an FM receiver as well. Other vendors, like Qualcomm's Airgo acquisition are promising to integrate the two.

The price and battery life of dual-mode phones is one of the key factors in the conflict over indoor wireless. As long as dual-mode devices are expensive battery hogs, the mobile operators will be rolling out indoor femtocell access points that keep the user on their cellular networks.

"Integrating multiple wireless technologies onto a single chip will be welcomed by mobile device manufacturers due to the inherent cost, space and power savings it will enable," said Stuart Carlaw, wireless research director at ABI Research.

However, multiple radios in one chip can be tricky because of self-interference - at least between Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth in the 2.4GHz range. Broadcom believes it has cracked this with its InConcert algorithms that run the two in tandem, either with separate antennas, or sharing an antenna to save space.

The smaller chip has power demands 40 percent less than competing chips, says Broadcom. But the implementations on the chip aren't cut-down. The Wi-Fi system supports the 802.11a/b/g standards, and the Bluetooth uses the faster 2.0 plus standard with enhanced data rate (EDR), and will be upgradeable to Bluetooth version 2.1. Both take on significant processing, which cuts demands on the main phone processor, again increasing battery life.

Even the FM radio isn't just a basic one -- it support both US and European standards for radio data.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Judge

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?