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February 18, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

If a new chip set from National Semiconductor Corp, Santa Clara lives up to its promise, wireless communication should become cheaper, smaller and less power-hungry. The PLLatinum series is the first product out of of NatSemi’s Wireless Communications Group, set up two years ago, and the company’s first foray into the world of radio transceivers. The products integrate radio frequency, digital and analogue functions on one integrated circuit, and are claimed to offer improved performance over competitive offerings including 66% lower power consumption: NatSemi says they operate on power voltages ranging from 2.7V to 5.5V which would give them a healthy advantage over much of the competition. Similarly, in a market where size (or rather lack of it) is of great importance, they are claimed to be 51% smaller than competing offerings. NatSemi is targeting diverse applications ranging from cellular and advanced cordless phones, to wireless local areanetworks and wireless PABXs.

Dead zone

Direct broadcast satellite and radio telemetry applications will also be targeted. With maximum operating frequencies at 1.1GHz and 2.0GHz, the company claims, the series is ahead of the competition in seven out of 10 key metrics, and equal in three others: they feature a proprietary charge pump which is claimed to eliminate dead zone and noise, and are also claimed to have the lowest power consumption at 18mW, smallest package size and fastest lock times. NatSemi also says that they match the best of the competition in voltage supply range, phase noise and input sensitivity. The products range from a 16-pin JEDEC package to a 20-pin 1.1mm thick TSSOP package and are made using NatSemi’s ABiC IV BiCMOS process, which integrates all radio frequency, digital and analogue functions onto a single, integrated circuit. Volume production is due to begin in March, while pricing will vary according to features and package options; in volumes of 1,000-up they will start at $4.25 per unit.

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