USB 3.0 & 802.11ad reference design offers multi-Gbps wireless connectivity

January 05, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Enabling OEMs to build single-band 60 GHz or multi-band USB adapter accessory for laptops and desktops, this USB 3.0 adapter reference design includes 802.11ad MAC/Baseband and 60 GHz RF chipsets; and a phase-array antenna. It can interoperate with Qualcomm Atheros’ multi-band access point solution.

SiBeam, a Lattice Semiconductor company, has disclosed a USB 3.0 adapter reference design supporting the IEEE 802.11ad wireless standard (also known as WiGig) for wireless connectivity at gigabit per second speeds over the 60 GHz frequency band. The reference design lets OEMs add wireless gigabit connectivity to laptop and desktop computers and is designed to be fully complementary and interoperable end-to-end with Qualcomm Atheros’ 802.11ad networking solution.

Avoiding congestion on 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks by operating over the much less crowded 60 GHz spectrum, and by supporting connectivity speeds up to ten times faster than today’s Wi-Fi technology, 802.11ad is expected to revolutionise wireless connectivity, the company notes. SiBEAM adds its advanced beamforming technology to give OEMs robust RF performance for a more reliable wireless signal.

The SiBEAM USB 3.0 802.11ad reference design (part number SK65011U) includes the SB6501, an 802.11ad MAC/baseband chip, and the Sil6312, a 60 GHz RF chip with on-package phase array antenna. The reference design will be available for interested parties to evaluate in early February 2016.

“The boom in applications like the wireless streaming of HD and 4K video are pushing existing Wi-Fi network technologies to their limit,” said Khurram Sheikh, president, SiBEAM, Inc. and chief strategy and technology officer, Lattice Semiconductor. “Our USB 3.0 802.11ad adapter reference design and its compatibility with Qualcomm Atheros’ 802.11ad access point solution means OEMs now have access to a complete, end-to-end solution for 60 GHz wireless networking that will provide the network speeds and low signal interference required to provide consumers with an uncompromised next-generation Wi-Fi experience.”

“We are happy to see more 802.11ad interoperable solutions being introduced,” said Tal Tamir, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. “The growing demand for better wireless user experience requires all of us to find ways to accelerate ecosystem adoption and SiBEAM’s USB 3.0 solution is an excellent example of that.”