Sony develops 11Gbps short-range wireless intra-connection

Before you get too excited about the bandwidth number, you should know that Sony's latest wireless innovation works at a range of up to 14 millimeters. So no, it won't be replacing your WiFi antenna anytime soon, but it may well be showing up in your next television set or other bit of Sony-branded gadgetry. Working in the 30GHz to 300GHz frequency range, this is designed to replace wired communication channels inside electronic devices, with Sony claiming it will deliver "advantages such as size and cost-reduction and enhanced reliability of the final product." Basically, erecting 1mm antennae that can beam information at each other at a rate of 11Gbps turns out to be simpler and more reliable than printing ever wider data lanes into the circuit board. Makes sense to us. Full PR after the break.

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Sony Develops World's First*1 Millimeter-wave Wireless Intra-Connection Technology for Internal High Speed Data Transfer within Electronics Products

Realizes 11Gbps transfer speed with an active footprint of just 0.13mm2

Tokyo, Japan, February 8, 2010 - Sony Corporation ('Sony') today announced the development of millimeter-wave wireless intra-connection technology that realizes high speed wireless data transfer inside electronic products such as television sets. By replacing complicated wires and internal circuitry with wireless connections, this technology enables a reduction in the size and cost of the IC and other components used in electronics products, delivering advantages such as size and cost-reduction and enhanced reliability of the final product.

The advancing functionality of today's electronics products requires ever increasing quantities of internal data transfer. Once wired connections approach the limit of their data capacity, additional circuitry is required to facilitate larger data transfers, however this leads to the issue of increasingly complicated IC packages, intricately printed circuit boards, and larger IC sizes.

This new wireless intra-connection system is based on millimeter-wave wireless data transfer technology. Millimeter-wave refers to electromagnetic waves with a frequency of 30GHz to 300GHz, and wavelength between 1mm to 10mm. With their high frequency, millimeter-waves are suited to ultra high speed data transfer, while a further advantage is their ability to transfer data using only very small antennas. The high frequency technologies used in this system also draw on Sony's extensive expertise and years of experience in the field of wireless communications and broadcast products. Specifically, Sony has integrated highly energy efficient millimeter-wave circuits on 40nm-CMOS-LSIs (with an active footprint of just 0.13mm2 including both the transmitter and receiver), to realize high speed, 11Gbps data transfer over a distance of 14mm using antennas approximately 1mm in size.

By replacing physical circuitry in electronics products with high speed wireless connections, this new data transfer technology reduces the number of wired connections and minimizes IC use, to simplify the IC package and printed circuit board. Furthermore, because the data transfer occurs without contact, this enhances the reliability of movable and detachable parts within the product.

Sony will proceed with efforts to adopt this technology in a range of electronics products, while continuing its development to meet ever-increasing data-rate requirements.

This technology will be presented at "ISSCC 2010", to be held in San Francisco, California, US, from February 7th 2010.

Key Features

1. Optimized circuit for intra-connection on CMOS-LSIs

Sony has drawn on its years of experience in radio frequency technologies to realize compact, low power, millimeter-wave circuits optimal for use in intra-connection over CMOS-LSIs. Due to the small footprint of just 0.13mm2 the circuits can be built into a single chip, at very low cost.

2. Injection lock method*2 realizes small size, low power consumption and sufficient transmission range for intra-connection

Synchronized detection, which aligns the receiver with the transmitted carrier frequency, is an effective means of providing sufficient transmission range for intra-connection, while also ensuring low power consumption. However, the PLL (Phase Locked Loop) generally used for this synchronization has the disadvantage of requiring large, power-consuming circuitry to transmit at millimeter-wave frequency. By adopting an injection lock system that eliminates PLL, Sony has enabled synchronized detection over small size circuits, while also minimizing power consumption and providing sufficient transmission range for successful intra-connection.

This technology, used together with miniature antennas approximately 1mm in length, enable transmission speeds of 11Gbps over a distance of 14mm, with power consumption of 70mW. It is possible for this distance to be extended to around 50mm using high directivity antennas.

*1 Based on Sony research (as of January, 2010).
*2 A method of synchronization that injects incoming signals into the receiver's oscillator, and then aligns the oscillator to that signal.