Monday, November 25, 2002
Software-based Wireless: Nirvana at Last?
Posted by Jason Dunn in "NEWS" @ 10:38 AM
I've spent some time reading their white papers, and it seems like the concept is this: devices would have a wireless receiver that listens on frequencies from 30 MHz to 2.5 GHz. Their software then sits atop that receiver, providing a virtual radio stack - as easy as installing a software patch, you'd have access to a new type of wireless data. Your company moves from 802.11b to 802.11g? No problem, install a software patch and your device is now 802.11g ready.
The implications of this are staggering - so much so that I have serious doubts this technology will ever come to light. On one hand, it would mean that all manner of devices would have access to wireless data in new ways, and that could potentially mean new revenue streams...but would it be enough to counter-act the revenue lost from the upgrade frenzy we're all stuck in due to our one-trick-pony wireless devices?<!>
Vanu has several white papers up, one of them talks about a beta test they ran using an iPAQ. Below is a photo and some quotes from the white paper.
"The RF-to-digital block is implemented as a card that covers the frequency range from 30 MHz to 2.5 GHz, and has selectable bandwidths of 30 kHz, 200 kHz, and 1.25 MHz. It is designed to operate over the temperature region of –40 °C to +85 °C and has a maximum transmit power of 0.6 watts, while providing transmit power control capable of meeting IS-95 requirements. This card also contains the A/D and D/A converters as well as a digital control interface for setting parameters and measuring variables such as received signal strength.
The antenna block includes both the antenna as well as a portion of the RF card. The RF card contains several antenna ports. The active port can be selected through software to enable use of different antennas for different bands, or multiple can be activated for applications that exploit diversity. The digital control interface to the antenna block in Figure 1 is actually implemented as part of the RF card, which is why the dotted grey line that outlines the antenna block contains part of the RF card.
At the time of this writing, the iPAQ system is being tested, so a complete list of benchmarks is not yet available. Preliminary data indicates that the IS-136 forward voice channel receiver consumes 22% of the 200 MHz StrongARM processor. The receiver software measured includes equalization, synchronization, separation of timeslots, demodulation, decoding, vocoding and message processing."
They have a new press release that contains further background information.