IBM develops fast wireless chip

Scientists at IBM Corp. have developed a chipset that they claim is capable of allowing wireless devices to operate more than 10 times faster than today’s advanced Wi-Fi networks.

The chipset, using silicon germanium, is designed to operate in the 60GHz band, an unlicensed portion of the radio spectrum that can be used to transport data-intensive formats such as HDTV (high definition television), IBM said Monday.

Electronics makers have been looking for ways to exploit this portion of the radio spectrum but previous chips designed to tap this potential have been too large, expensive and difficult to integrate with other products, the company said.

The use of silicon germanium technology allows a high level of integration in the chips themselves, according to IBM. Antennas can be embedded directly into the chipset, helping to reduce system costs.

For example, a silicon germanium-based chipset, including receiver, transmitter and two antennas, would occupy the area of a U.S. dime coin, it said.

The technology could be used not only in the office environment but also at home, allowing an uncompressed HDTV signal to be transmitted wirelessly from a DVD player to a plasma display mounted on the wall, according to IBM.

Additional information on IBM’s silicon millimeter-wave research is available at this Web site .

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