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Wireless communications Fig. 2: The ISP151001 UWB Smart Bluetooth module measuring 9x19x1.5mm. Silicon is not enough on its own, though. Customers need a complete working solution, and the RF design required to generate wide-band transmissions over a large spectral range are far from trivial. Here RF module specialist Insight SIP is providing solutions, offering a fully functioning, certified module complete with integrated antenna, based on the Decawave solution, with others to be offered when silicon is available. Insight SIP has been working on UWB technology for several years, in particular tackling the challenging antenna issues involved in working with such a wide frequency band. The UWB spectrum is divided in two for regulatory purposes (the unimaginatively named 3-5 GHz “low-band” and 5 to 8 GHz “high-band”). Not all territories permit use of both bands, so any solution for global markets has to be flexible enough to use either band on demand. Insight SiP has developed a range of innovative miniature antennas that fit directly above the RF components in small system in package (SiP) modules. Combining the antenna with the electronics in a single package makes deployment of UWB as simple as mounting a single QFN style device on a PCB. There are a number of companies starting trials with the technology, with applications in automotive, warehousing and asset tracking. Gemalto, the secure element vendor, is leading a large European project that uses the technology to combine Fig. 3: Outline of the ISP151001 module showing the antenna. secure data exchange with accurate positioning. There seems little doubt there will be a market for the technology – the question is more how big it can be. The holy-grail for the vendors of course would be for the technology to be adopted inside the phone. This may be a little way off, but being able to accurately and securely position a phone could open up a number of interesting use-cases – for instance payments, or passing an airline boarding gate, but without having to take the phone out of your pocket. What past history has shown is that if a wireless technology proves useful, it migrates inside the phone quite quickly. In the short term it will be standalone solutions that kick-start the market. Nevertheless, UWB is back, with a new role and a new lease of life, and it’s the wireless technology to watch for the second half of the decade. Insight SiP has designed an extremely small integrated SiP combining UWB, Smart Bluetooth and an ARM Cortex M4 processor, together with both UWB and Bluetooth antennas in a small package whose size is only 9x19x1.5mm. The module is based on the Decawave DW1000 transceiver and the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 Smart Bluetooth ASIC. A smaller variant of the product that does not include the Smart Bluetooth function is also available, measuring 9x15x1.5mm. The ISP151001 outline is shown in figure 2: it has a 43% smaller footprint than the original PCB based Decawave reference module that only includes the transceiver, the antenna and the crystal; yet it is 50% thinner. The small size of the complete solution is possible thanks to the combination of very dense SiP assembly on a state of the art SiP substrate. This is coupled to a proprietary over IC antenna design that is integrated into the package in the same way as a metal shield. Figure 3 shows an outline of the module with the position of the antenna. MERCURY+ SA2 Altera® Cyclone® V SoC Module MERCURY ZX5 Xilinx® Zynq™-7015/7030 SoC Module from €286* from €160* Everything FPGA. Hall 4A, 121 *High volume price, subject to change. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2016 33


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