On the heels of announcing successful trials of its Active Steering™ solution with Tier One carriers in the U.S. and Europe, Ethertronics, a leading technology company enabling innovative antenna and RF system solutions to deliver the best connected experience, unveiled EtherChip™ EC459™. As the first of the EtherChip line of RF chips to enable Ethertronics’ game-changing active steering technology, EC459 is the world’s first device integrating high-performance RF switching and a full-featured microprocessor on a single device. Embedded in the plug-and-play chip are Ethertronics’ proprietary algorithm, and communication and control conduits to enable Active Steering, which maximize throughput and reliability in 3G and 4G (LTE and LTE-Advanced) wireless devices. EC459 is designed for a variety of applications including wireless phones, tablets, notebooks, M2M products, the Internet of Things and other wireless devices.

“Recent trials with Tier One carriers in the U.S. and Europe established that our active steering solution is capable of achieving significant spectral efficiency gains of 30 percent on LTE networks. Our new EC459 is the vehicle for delivering these major spectral efficiency gains as well as a host of other important benefits – from better connectivity to increased download speeds, an improved mobile user experience and more,” said Vahid Manian, COO of Ethertronics. “By combining our EC459 device with an advanced Ethertronics antenna architecture, we are able to provide OEMs with an easy-to-integrate, plug-and-play solution for their devices. What this means is that OEMs don’t need to task their existing operating system or apps processor since EC459 does the job for them. Not only does EC459 help with execution and decrease time to market, but it drives a whole new era of high-performance devices providing maximum connectivity and performance.”

As an integrated solution, EC459 contains not only the RF switching, which acts as the transducer to adjust the IMD antenna’s pattern, but also the algorithm that samples and switches among the patterns, and adaptively makes the optimal selection. Active steering provides revolutionary improvements in data throughput, interference reduction, hand-off between towers, connection reliability and spectral efficiency. Active steering can provide the benefits of multiple antennas in a small footprint. Ethertronics’ proprietary Active Steering algorithm samples and switches between the multiple radiation patterns, selecting the best one for that specific environment (cell edge versus near cell tower in the case of a cell phone). The technology removes the need to move your phone around in low signal areas in an attempt to get a strong enough signal to connect to the network. As a result, the users benefit from better connectivity, increased download speeds and improved experience while wireless carriers benefit from increased spectral efficiency, decreasing the burden on the network. In addition to providing benefits for Wide Area Networks (WAN), for Wi-Fi applications, EC459 can significantly enhance throughput at distance and improve coverage.

Manian continued, “EC459 underscores our commitment to ushering in a new generation of high-performance solutions, and is just one more example of how we are bringing OEMs a total solution for their 3G and 4G devices. EC459, the algorithm and the antenna are co-developed and optimized as a system to provide a solution that is cost effective and easy to integrate into their designs, which is important from both a performance and time-to-market perspective.”

With an operating frequency of 100 to 3000 MHz, EC459 supports Bluetooth, GSM/WCDMA/LTE, WiFi, RFID and GPS. It has a minimal footprint at just 4 x 4 x 0.65 mmin a QFN package. Minimal power consumption is required for operation. EC459 additionally features a flexible control interface that is customizable between SPI, I2C, UART and USART protocols. A MIPI interface is also available. Multiple interface options provide flexibility; allowing OEMs and integrators to speed up integration and testing. Worldwide applications support and user development tools are available, including: evaluation board, antenna reference design, host firmware driver, PC control software and driver. No baseband software or hardware modifications are required for product integration.

EC459 is commercially available. For more information visit http://www.ethertronics.com/products/rfics/.