Active steering IC steps up WiFi transfer rate in MIMO applications

February 18, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Ethertronics’ EtherChip EC482 is the first of the EtherChip line of RF devices to enable Ethertronics’ Active Steering technology for WiFi and other 5 GHz applications. The chip has been designed for Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) 5 GHz and WiFi applications, with superior single- and multi-antenna performance at frequencies even beyond the WiFi high-band.

Ultra-fast RF switching supports WiFi air interface protocols. Very low off-capacitance provides ample control in switching reactances at high WiFi frequencies. Embedded in the EC482 are Ethertronics’ proprietary algorithm and communication and control conduits to enable Active Steering for WiFi applications. Target designs include access points, set-top boxes, WiFi clients, WiFi extenders, wearables and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Ethertronics’ Active Steering technology generates multiple radiation patterns from a single antenna structure. EC482 enables “beam steering” from a wireless device by monitoring RF link performance, and through a combination of closed loop and predictive algorithms, optimally selects the antenna radiation pattern that provides the best RF link performance. The EC482 is the master controller of this process, containing not only the RF electronics, which are used to implement the steering of the antenna beam, but also the control software and embedded processor that host Ethertronics’ algorithm, which continuously optimises the RF communications link. This capability provides for improvements in range, data throughput and signal quality for applications such as video streaming. Additional advantages include interference reduction, robustness in multipath environments, improved connection reliability and better spectral efficiency.

EC482 also enables seamless WiFi offloading capabilities for wide area network wireless operators.

With an operating frequency range of 100 MHz to 7 GHz, EC482 has a small footprint at 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.75 mm in a QFN 24-pin package. Low power consumption makes operation feasible for battery-operated systems.