TI Announces WiLink 8 Family - WiFi, GNSS, NFC, BT, and FM Combo Chipby Brian Klug on February 13, 2012 9:00 AM EST
It goes without saying that connectivity is a hugely important part of smartphones. After all, without some sort of network connection, you've basically just got an expensive PDA or PMP. Today, TI is making formal the WiLink 8 family, the newest member of its popular WiLink series of WLAN combo chips, which is built on a 45nm process. WiLink 8 adds support for GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System - GPS + GLONASS) and NFC in addition to WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM receive/transmit like we've seen in WiLink 7 in a number of devices.
The WiLink 8 family includes 15 different discrete solution options, and TI has provided a feature comparison for those parts. The configuration options basically afford OEMs the ability to choose whether they want GNSS (which they might not if the baseband or SoC provides it), NFC (possibly for low-end devices), and a simplified WLAN-only option.
|TI WiLink 8 Series Comparison|
|Technology Option||WL189x solutions||WL187x solutions||WL185x solutions||WL183x solutions||WL180x solutions|
|Dual-band 2x2 MIMO||WL1897||WL1877||WL1857||WL1837||WL1807|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n||WL1893||WL1873||WL1853||WL1833||WL1803|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n||WL1891||WL1871||WL1851||WL1831||WL1801|
|Wi-Fi SS 40MHz (HT40)||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Bluetooth low energy||Y||Y||Y||Y|
WiLink 8 WiFi support builds on WiLink 7 by also adding both 2.4 and 5 GHz radio support, and most interestingly the option to connect using either dual-band 2x2:2 MIMO with a 20 MHz WiFi channel, or single spatial stream (1x1:1) on a 40 MHz wide channel. This is an interesting and unique feature that we haven't seen before from the other combo chip players, and I'm eager to see if OEMs opt to go for the 2x2:2 solution. Tablets are probably the most logical place for 2x2:2 considering that a larger device means better chances of getting two decently uncorrelated streams. The WiLink 8 series also includes an integrated NFC controller with support for all of the NFC forum use cases and modes, and TI tells us they've already partnered with a number of Secure Element (SE) providers (TI names Infineon and NXP in its release) as well for support.
Integrated GNSS support is also very interesting, as for a while now Qualcomm has been the only player I've seen offering smartphone-tailored GNSS receiver with support for GPS and Russia's GLONASS constellation in newer SoCs and basebands. TI tells me they also have a different approach to managing use and prioritization of GPS/GLONASS than Qualcomm, whose solution right now only uses GLONASS when GPS SNR is low. We'll see products with WiLink 8 inside in the second half of 2012.
Source: Texas Instruments