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Industry News / Manufacturing/Services / Semiconductors / Integrated Circuits / Subsystems and Systems

Fastrax and SiGe Semiconductor Cooperate

January 20, 2009
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Fastrax, a supplier of high performance GPS receivers, GPS software solutions and tracking systems for location-aware devices, and SiGe Semiconductor, a global supplier of products that are enabling wireless multimedia in a wide variety of computing, entertainment and mobile systems, announced that Fastrax has selected SiGe's SE4120 to power its Software GPS solution.

As a result of the collaboration, the Fastrax Software GPS and SiGe Semiconductor's SE4120 radio front-end makes available a high performance GPS solution, complimented with a reference design to enable easy integration by third parties. The reference design is also available as a turnkey solution in the Fastrax iT900 RF module. This combined offering converts the GPS radio frequency signal into a digital intermediate frequency (IF) signal that is processed by Fastrax Software GPS solution. By deploying SiGe's IC, Fastrax Software GPS solution will provide the best user experience in a range of applications with a navigation sensitivity as high as -163 dBm.

The software-based approach is expected to increase the speed of adoption of GPS functionalities beyond the high-end cell phones. Target platforms include personal navigation devices (PND), mobile internet devices (MID), ultra-mobile PCs (UMPC), personal media players (PMP), smartphones, digital cameras and laptops.

While traditional GPS solutions require the integration of a GPS specific baseband, making the design more complex and adding to the cost, a software-based solution allows faster time-to-market with less costs and more adjustable features. With Fastrax Software GPS the GPS functionality can easily be managed and customized to be fully optimized for each specific device and application.

"We are always looking for ways to improve our offering and want to drive the GPS technology development. When combining Fastrax software GPS with SiGe's SE4120 we can deliver exceptionally high tracking sensitivity of -163 dBm, which exceeds all known solutions available in the market. We are now raising the bar on system sensitivity," explains Kim Kaisti, co-founder and VP of Business Development at Fastrax.

"SiGe's field proven leadership in GPS RF IC's, system knowledge and support was a significant driver to select them as one of our technology partners."

"Both SiGe and Fastrax focus on high-quality, low-power and high-sensitivity devices for reliable performance and stable GPS services. With Fastrax deploying our GPS solutions we have helped to build a platform that offers improved performance and opens up a whole new world of location-aware applications. The new solution will initially use our SE4120L or SE4120S devices and will support all known operating systems including all Microsoft® Windows platforms, Embedded Linux and Nucleus, which will provide wider opportunities for device manufacturers," commented Stefan Fulga, director strategic marketing of SiGe.

Fastrax Software GPS focuses on the optimization of signal acquisition and correlation, the functions typically requiring the most CPU power and memory in GPS solutions. It obtains the best performance on every platform, depending on available processing power and memory. Fastrax Software GPS flexibility enables portability to a range of CPU's, specific application processors and operating systems as it is based on the Fastrax iSuite architecture, which was originally designed for embedded environments.

The SE4120 is a highly integrated GPS/GNSS radio front-end IC, offering high performance and low power operation in a wide range of low-cost applications. It supports GPS and dual-mode L1-band GPS/GNSS products. The SE4120 features a conditioned interface for software implementations of GNSS baseband signal processing.

The SE4120 includes an on-chip LNA, a low intermediate frequency (IF) receiver with a linear AGC and an advanced multi-bit I/Q analog to digital converter (ADC) with serialized data output. The receiver incorporates a fully integrated image reject mixer, obviating the need for a SAW filter in many applications. The SE4120's on-chip IF filter may be adjusted from 2.2 MHz BW (for GPS only) to 4.4 MHz BW (for simultaneous reception of GPS and GNNS signals). The digitized I/Q output, centered near-zero IF, is available in a serialized data stream to facilitate software signal processing.

The highly integrated PLL synthesizer of the SE4120 requires only two passive components to implement an off-chip loop filter. The SE4120 is optimized for the lowest possible power consumption consistent with a very low external component count.


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