Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Wireless Convergence

Dean Anthony Gratton

The economic downturn has witnessed numerous companies converge in their effort to continue to deliver their products and services, as the country’s optimism is quashed by escalating costs and empty wallets.  This consolidation of effort has inadvertently streamlined and economized industries who may have sat back and wondered: “Why didn’t we do this before?”.

If we can extend this philosophy to wireless technology and play Devil’s advocate, is there any need to have multiple technologies all competing for a similar, if not the same, market sector?  You could possibly conjecturer, is it necessary for a consumer to deliberate how they might choose to transfer a picture from their smartphone to their PC: “I just want to do it.”  The consumer technically needn’t worry that they’d have to use a particular technology to enable the transfer; rather, they should be just capable of making a transfer irrespective of the technology empowering their product.  In a similar manner, as consumers, we pick up a mobile phone and make a telephone call – we are blissfully ignorant as to how this is achieved – we just become connected and we’re speaking with our friends, family members or even our colleagues.

Texas Instruments’ WiLink 7.0 Solution chipset (WL1281/WL1283) (courtesy of Texas Instruments).

A One-Size-Fits-All Technology

Naturally, Devil’s advocate allows us to wilfully consider whether the wireless industry will witness a “one-size- fits-all” technology, in turn, banishing the plethora of standards and the incumbent competitive “mines better than yours because..” theology.  This may be perceived as a little harsh, but we have already witnessed a number of manufacturers consolidating multiple radios on to a single chipset.  For example, Texas Instruments (ti.com) offer their WiLink 7.0 Solution platform (WL1281/WL1283), which consolidates GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth wireless technology (classic), Bluetooth low energy, ANT technology and an FM radio transceiver into a single chip, as shown in Figure 1, and conceptualise in Figure 2.  Likewise, other manufacturers have also consolidated multiple radios into a single chipset offering, which can only lead us to speculate, as to a timeframe in which this evolutionary step toward wireless convergence will take place – a ‘one-size-fits-all’ silicon chip.



TI’s WiLink 7.0 Solution platform comprises a number of wireless technologies all consolidated into a single chip, as we have conceptualized (source: ti.com).

from The Handbook of Personal Area Networking Technologies and Protocols by Dean Anthony Gratton.  Used by permission of Cambridge University Press.

Pre-order your copy from http://www.cambridge.org/9780521197267.

About The Author

Dean Anthony Gratton

Dean Anthony Gratton is the author of The Handbook of Personal Area Networking Technologies and Protocols (2013). He has worked extensively within the wireless communications R&D i...

View profile >

Latest Comments

Have your say!