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Ceva First to Launch 802.11ax IP

May 1, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

The IEEE’s next-generation 802.11ax Wi-Fi specifications are more than a year from ratification, but (as usual) several wireless-chip vendors have already announced pre-standard products. To enable them, DSP-intellectual-property (DSP-IP) specialist Ceva is offering 802.11ax additions to its RivieraWaves Wi-Fi family. Its new RW-AX-series comprises three models targeting a range of products that spans IoT/wearables, mobile devices, access points, and gateways. The company plans to release the RW-AX IP for general licensing by the end of this quarter.

The RW-AX packages include synthesizable RTL for the RF automatic gain control (AGC) and the media-access-controller (MAC) layer. A hardware accelerator handles MAC-layer encryption. To minimize area and power, designers can select standard RTL for a hard-wired modem or, for greater flexibility, run a software-defined modem on a Ceva-XC DSP core. The company estimates a die-area ratio of roughly two to one when comparing the largest model (including all options) with the smallest IoT model, but it withheld exact measurements. The IP package comes with C-language software for the lower-MAC and full-MAC protocol stacks. It omits the RF-front-end (RFFE) components, but Ceva works with Catena and other suppliers to ensure compatibility with their RF hard macros.

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