In the news
Jul 14, 2010

IP Wireless and Altair team-up on multi-mode LTE modems – Rethink Wireless

July 14, 2010

By Peter White

TDD specialist firm IP Wireless has teamed up with Israeli broadband chip specialist Altair Semiconductor to build an LTE modem which works with both TDD and FDD systems.

The companies claim it is an industry first and will work across multiple spectrum bands with the first version targeting the newly released 800MHz digital dividend band, 1800 MHz and 2.5 GHz and later devices going after the US 700MHz and AWS frequencies.

First samples will be out in September 2010, and commercial availability is slated for end of the year. The IPWireless’ LTE device will use the existing Altair’s FourGee-3100 baseband chip which was launched last June and the FourGee-6200 RFIC chipsets which has always been set for delivery this quarter, plus some of IPWireless’ own technology and software.

The FourGee-3100 supports LTE category 3 with throughputs up at 100 Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink and relies on two 20MHz MIMO receive chains and one transmit chain and are sold as ultra-low power and are programmable to HSPA/EVDO to produce a multi-mode LTE – 3G device. It is built around the proprietary Altair software defined radio, which it calls O2P and comes in 8mm x 8 mm packaging, which it says significantly exceeds the performance from traditional communications DSP cores.

The chipset supports both FDD as well as TDD versions of the LTE standard and has undergone extensive interoperability testing (IOT) with major infrastructure vendors, allowing IPWireless to accelerate time to market for its LTE USB device product and ensure full compatibility with future LTE networks. Altair signed an LTE interoperability testing deal with ZTE back in February.

This is effectively a TDD push from a company that came out of the WiMAX world and Altair, as well as Sequans and Beceem, are all looking to make this jump. The overall effect will be that there are many more companies targeting the LTE market with baseband chips, that were left standing after the aggressive IP and pricing wars which have decimated 3G chip vendors. Add to these WiMAX companies the chips coming out of graphics (Nvidia) and video (Broadcom) outfits and the majors – Qualcomm, Infineon, ST-Ericsson and MediaTek – may not have it all their own way in LTE. There are even likely to be new players out of Japan in the form of Renesas, which has just acquired the Nokia advanced wireless modem business, last week.

The companies will integrate Altair’s cutting-edge software-defined radio baseband processor into IPWireless’ LTE devices. The first consumer friendly LTE USB modem device will support multiple frequency bands including the 800MHz digital dividend band, 1800 MHz and 2.5 GHz. Subsequent devices will also support the entire US 700MHz and AWS frequency. Samples of the device will be available by September, 2010, with commercial availability before the end of the year.

“IPWireless is a pioneer in developing and designing 3G and 4G wireless broadband devices,” said Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing and Business Development at Altair. “The combination of their innovative technology, product integration expertise and our patented software-defined radio 4G chipsets has allowed us to jointly develop one of the first commercial LTE modems for mobile operators looking to get a jump on deploying LTE networks and provide their users with an extraordinary experience.”

The FourGee-6200 is a high-performance, wideband FDD/TDD radio IC which covers any 3GPP LTE frequency band in the range between 700-2700MHz to allow global roaming systems.

The MIMO antennas from IP Wireless may well have come out of the work it did on a diversity receiver for its TDD mobile TV system.