Intel has unveiled a chip designed to meet the demands of future radio sets by switching between different networks and frequencies based on availability or local government regulations.
The chip maker showed off the 90nm complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) silicon transceiver with an integrated frequency synthesizer last week.
Intel's new chip features a 10GHz radio, with the synthesizer enabling it to tune down to lower frequencies in 30KHz steps.
"They tune and tweak themselves," explained Krishnamurthy Soumyanath, director of Intel's communications circuits lab.
He added that the new chip is also designed to allow device makers to cheaply support multiple wireless networks.
"We are going to have four or five radios on a platform. You've got to make them cheaper, you've got to make them flexible and you've got to make them smart," he said.
Although silicon is not the traditional material of choice to make radios, Intel decided on this route so that it could profit from the scalability of the material. "We want to get the radio on Moore's Law's cost curves," said Soumyanath.
CMOS transceivers currently on the market use 180nm or 250nm technology, increasing their price and power consumption, he added.
But Soumyanath warned that the new transceiver will not act as a 'super' radio chip, supporting all radio technologies available for any device.
Laptops, mobile phones and desktops have different requirements, he noted, adding: "A super-chip is not going to be able to do the job."
Intel has no plans as yet for products based on the new chip.
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