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VNU Net: Lucent prepares for high-speed wireless

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.