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VNU Net: Lucent prepares for high-speed wireless

Apr 14, 2000, 14:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Leyden)


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By John Leyden, VNU Net

Lucent Technologies' Microelectronics Group has shipped the first silicon of the high-performance ARM10 microprocessor core, paving the way for the development of lower powered wireless products.

UK-based ARM's core for system-on-a-chip (SoC) integrated circuits significantly increases the performance of previous ARM cores, enabling the development of next-generation wireless and broadband infrastructure products. These would include wireless phones and personal digital assistants, wireless and broadband internet connectivity, internet routers and even high-end gaming devices.

Lucent is using its COM-1 (0.25 micron drawn) modular CMOS process to fabricate the ARM10 cores, and plans to migrate to the COM-2 (0.16 micron drawn) process later this year. Using 0.16 micron technology will enable processing of more than 400 MIPS (million instructions per second) at 1.5 volts and reduce power consumption to less than one watt.

The core's small die area and low power consumption are well suited for integration with Lucent's digital signal processors, enabling SoCs that perform real-time audio and video applications at power levels suitable for portable devices and VoIP gateways.

Peter Crowcombe, of analysts Infonetics Research, said that Lucent was using its strong research heritage and presence in the cellular market to challenge chip manufacturers based in the Far East as well as its telecom equipment competitors.

"The development of broadband wireless access is important in Europe because with the late arrival of DSL, it may become a leap frog technology that will deliver high-speed connections to businesses," he said.

Tony Grewe, director of communications strategy and business development at Lucent's Microelectronics Group, said: "By working with ARM as a lead partner on the development of the ARM10 family, Lucent is enabling its customers to accelerate their time to market for next-generation network systems and wireless internet appliances."

Lucent has also licensed ARM's three other ARM cores for its next-generation communications offerings.

"And by licensing synthesisable versions of the ARM7 and ARM9 processor core families, Lucent brings a new measure of flexibility and efficiency to the design of advanced communications systems on a chip," said Grewe.

The ARM10 family supports operating systems such as Windows CE, Epoc32 and Linux. The ARM10 silicon is currently running Windows CE and application code including MP3 audio decompression.

Lucent is currently sampling reference devices which will be available for evaluation using development cards from ARM later this year.

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