Consumer Electronics

Nitero Launches 60GHz Wi-Fi Chip for Mobiles

17 July 2014

Nitero Inc. (Austin, Texas), a fabless chip company with Australian roots, has introduced its NT4600 60GHz wireless LAN transceiver for short-range multi-gigabit per second connection of mobile devices. The technology is expected to be fundamental to sharing multimedia between large screen and computer displays allowing them to stream video wirelessly.

Nitero, founded in 2011, first demonstrated its technology in 2012 but has now come to market with a chip implemented using a 28nm RF process from the foundry operation of Samsung Electronics (see Samsung Foundry Adds RF to 28-nm CMOS). Nitero claims that this process, which was partly proven with reference to the NT4600, is more power efficient than previously produced 802.11ad chips.

The NT4600 transceiver is up to 10 times more power efficient than 802.11ad solutions designed for use with PCs, Nitero said. It also brings cost and form-factor in line with existing 802.11ac Wi-Fi solutions. Nitero is showing the NT4600 to selected companies and said it plans for volume production in 2015. The transceiver is going to be the first product in Nitero's 60G family of 60GHz CMOS chips, Nitero said.

The chip supports transmit and receive beamforming to support non-line-of-sight conditions with low-latency 4K wireless display support in living-room, desktop, and conference-room environments. The technology uses 16-QAM at up to 4.6-Gbps.

Gang of Four

Up until now the Wilocity Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has been the leading player in 60-GHz WiGig market. Earlier this month Qualcomm said it had bought Wilocity to bring high data rate short distance wireless technology to mobile devices. The purchase price wasn't disclosed but one report said Qualcomm had paid $400 million. Other players in 60GHz communications include Peraso Technologies Inc. (Toronto, Ontario) and Blu Wireless Technology Ltd. (Bristol, England). Peraso is a fabless chip company while Blu Wireless is pursuing a IP licensing business model.

Nitero’s NT4600 supports low-latency 4K display and peer-to-peer wireless connectivity at USB 3.0 data rates – both requirements for supporting console-equivalent mobile gaming and to allow seamless use of productivity applications in a mobile office. In addition, while single-antenna 802.11ad solutions sacrifice in-room performance to get to low power, the NT4600 supports transmit and receive beamforming to provide full coverage throughout the office, living room or conference room.

"802.11ad solutions built for the PC and slimmed down for mobile simply can’t meet the power, performance, and form-factor requirements of Tier 1 mobile customers,” said Pat Kelly, CEO of Nitero, in a statement. "At Nitero, we targeted the smartphone from day one. The result is 60G."

"With the NT4600, I can walk around a conference room while my smartphone drives a presentation at the office. Once home, it can wirelessly connect to my 4K TV to play the latest first person shooter without having to be recharged."

Nitero's technology builds on CMOS millimeter-wave research conducted by NICTA and the University of Melbourne from 2004 until Nitero's spinout from NICTA in 2011. Nitero has been backed by Austin Ventures, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Trailblazer Capital.

Related links and articles:

IHS Technology Semiconductor & Components Page

News articles:

Qualcomm Set to Buy WiGig Chip Maker

Samsung Foundry Adds RF to 28-nm CMOS

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