Digital baseband integration has been a growing trend in wireless applications as it offers tangible benefits for system architects looking to reduce cost, form factor and power consumption.

Until now, our Ensigma Explorer RPUs (radio processors) have been leading the charge in high performance baseband integration. We’ve seen several strategic design wins in the last year that are a testament to the unique capabilities and superior architecture of our RPUs; for example, Toshiba has recently announced the expansion of the TZ5000 family of processors – these chips use an Ensigma C4500 RPU for high-performance 802.11ac 2×2 connectivity.

In addition, multiple fabless companies from Korea and China (including Rockchip) have licensed Ensigma Explorer radio processors in their quest to move more (or all) connectivity on-chip.

The new line-up of Ensigma Whisper RPUs

Today we are announcing three new Ensigma Whisper RPUs based on the revolutionary architecture we introduced last July. In a similar manner to their high performance Explorer RPU counterparts, Whisper radio processors deliver a choice between multi-standard support or single-point solutions for customers looking to integrate low power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart and other existing or emerging standards in their SoCs.

  • Ensigma C5300 delivers Bluetooth Smart for ultra-low power, short range connectivity providing control functionality in devices including sensor hubs, wearables and home automation

Ensigma C5300 - Ensigma Whisper RPU

  • Ensigma C5400 supports Wi-Fi 802.11n for low-power devices capable of audio/video streaming; enables customers to achieve Wi-Fi connectivity at the power levels of Bluetooth Classic while delivering better performance per mW

Ensigma C5400 - Ensigma Whisper RPU

  • Ensigma C5401 is designed for wearable applications and supports both Bluetooth Smart (for control) and Wi-Fi 802.11n (for streaming); in addition, both standards can work concurrently

Ensigma C5401 - Ensigma Whisper RPU

In the introduction to my article I talked about our unrivalled flexibility and scalability; our engineering team has taken these two concepts and put them at the heart of these new parts, making ease of integration a central part of the architecture. For example, SoC architects can choose to remove the embedded host CPU completely or use Ensigma RPUs to alleviate its load, leading to a significant reduction in size and energy consumption – both vital requirements for low power connected devices.

Ensigma Whisper RPU - choice of CPU configs

In addition, Ensigma Whisper RPUs are based on an innovative architecture that reduces all aspects of power consumption, including the energy required for processors to wake up from an idle state. Since devices using low power connectivity will likely operate in a burst-like fashion (wake up – send data – go to sleep), this reduction in idle and wake-up power consumption will lead to a significant increase in battery life for wearables and other IoT devices.

Ensigma Whisper RPUs - power consumption

You can read more about the new Ensigma Whisper RPUs in our press release; here is a quick sample:

Re-purposing mobile or other existing connectivity chips or IP won’t work for wearables and other ultra-low power IoT devices. Connectivity IP must be built from the ground up for these new applications, with a focus on low power consumption and compact area. The new [Ensigma] Whisper RPUs are configurable engines that are purpose-built for integration onto next-generation SoCs targeting IoT and other applications including smartwatches, home automation, healthcare, automotive, industrial and beyond.

Conclusion

Our ability to provide a complete connectivity solution (including RF, baseband, firmware, software, support and certification) uniquely positions Imagination as a leading force in the connectivity IP market; you can read more about building next-generation connected processors for IoT and wearables here and here.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR) and come back to our blog for the latest news and announcements from Imagination.

About the author: Alex Voica

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Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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