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Communications Design Communications Hardware

Bandwidth with a bonus


Chipset supports high data rates, but consumes low
power. By Roy Rubenstein.
sing modelling and its own development
tools, ST-Ericsson claims to have developed
a mobile broadband chipset with a power
consumption half that of rival devices.
The M5730 is part of ST-Ericssons thin
modem family. These wideband CDMA mobile
broadband devices do not include multimedia
processing hardware, so smartphone makers can
thus pair their application processor of choice
with the modem chipset.
ST-Ericssons M5730 supports the Evolved High
Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) standard that
delivers download data rates beyond the 7.2Mbit/s
limit of HSPA. The M5730 supports a download
data rate of 21Mbit/s (to the device) and 5.76
Mbit/s upstream.
According to the GSM Association, there are 66
HSPA+ networks in service in 38 countries,

CG2900

A-GPS

uart

Fig 1: M5730 block diagram

So far, we have seen the new access


technology coming first in dongles, said Hansson.
The real boom comes when the solution can be
integrated within the handset the dongle market
is much smaller than the handset market and
that is now possible with the M5730.
Embedded modules, the third market, refers
to integrate chipsets within laptops and
consumer devices, such as netbooks, tablets
and, soon, gaming devices and digital cameras.
System vendor Ericsson announced in
September what it claims is the first available
21Mbit/s HPSA+ embedded module, based on STEricssons M570 modem chipset, the HSPA+
predecessor to the M5730.
The design goals for the M5730 were low
power consumption and a smaller footprint to
enable handset designs. ST-Ericsson claims it has

Memory

Flash

LPDDR

SD/MMC

EMIF0

EMIF1

DB57300

Band
filters

RSPA/EDGE
Rx diversity
signal processing
Band
filters

HPSA
Tx signal processing

EDGE

SIM

L2
inst
cache

L2
data
cache

Control

OTP

Power management

ADC
SIM

www.newelectronics.co.uk

Interconnect

HSPA

HSPA PA

ARM
1176

dsp

DigRF v3.09

HSPA/EDGE
Rx signal processing

DigRF v3.09

EDGE
Tx signal processing

26MHz clocks

EDGE PA

DMAC

CG2900

DigRF interfaces

Antenna switch

Antenna switch

Security
rf front end

I/O

Host interfaces

delivering peak data rates of 21Mbit/s or more.


Meanwhile, the GSA says 136 operators in 63
countries have committed to deploying HSPA+.
However, market research firm Unwired Insight
points out that in practice operators may roll out
HSPA+ in a small part of their network only.
Operators see the need for mobile broadband
is growing rapidly, and one way to increase
capacity is to upgrade the network to 21Mbit/s,
said Magnus Hansson, ST-Ericssons senior vice
president, LTE and 3G modem solutions. In many
cases this can be done with a software upgrade
[of networking equipment] as opposed to the next
step, to 42Mbit/s, where operators also need to
upgrade hardware.
There are three main markets for HSPA+
chipsets: USB dongles for laptops; smartphones;
and embedded modules.

Host

USB
2.0
PHY
LED

LED

Platform power supplies

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Communications Design Communications Hardware

already achieved unmatched low power


up all those heat dissipating sources, said
consumption with the M570, even though this has
Hansson.
been improved upon with the M5730. For us, the
ST-Ericsson has not revealed what cmos
M5730 is more about integration we have gone
process it uses for the M5730. However, Hansson
from a three chip solution to a two chip one, said
is adamant that the low power consumption
Hansson.
achieved is due to careful architectural and
The two chip M5730 chipset comprises a radio
system design, rather than any advanced silicon
and a baseband ic. The RF5500 cmos radio
technology choice.
implements a direct conversion rf architecture for
The company analysed typical data consuming
the transmit and receive paths. The power
applications and these were then segmented in
amplifier, antenna switch and the filters are not
detail to determine how best to partition the
part of our components, said
systems functionality in
So far, we have hardware and software based on
Hansson.
The received rf signal is thus down seen the new
minimising power consumption.
converted and the analogue I and Q
This has resulted in ST-Ericsson
access technology grouping functionality into what it
channels are signal processed and
digitised by the RF5500 to produce an
calls power domains. Using
coming first in
output digital bitstream that is passed
management techniques, it
to the DB5730 baseband via the 3G
switches off those domains not in
dongles, said
DigRF digital interface standard.
use on a millisecond by
Hansson.
The DB5730 baseband processor
millisecond basis.
includes an ARM risc processor and a dsp, and
Clearly, a longer perspective than millisecond
performs the signal processing to compensate for
time windows must also be used. During internet
radio channel imperfections such as fading, and
browsing, when a data packet arrives from the
the 64-QAM demodulation that is used for HSPA+.
basestation, parts of the chip are switched on and
ST-Ericsson has not revealed which dsp core it
off in sequence every millisecond. But there is a
has licensed and Hansson points out that future
second domain to do with how you set up the data
designs may be based on ST-Ericssons own vector
call between the handheld and the infrastructure,
processor dsp.
said Hansson. This requires the bringing up and
To reduce the power consumption, ST-Ericsson
putting to sleep of data links quickly using new
explored the main uses of the HSPA+ device and,
standardised features developed by the 3rd
in particular, the power consumed when data is
Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
being received. There are many cases that are
This [sleep mode] is needed because you
relevant here, said Hansson. We have
dont know when the next packet will arrive in an
focused on minimising the power
internet application, said Hansson. These are not
consumption for internet browsing,
in millisecond, but hundreds of millisecond time
streaming and gaming.
resolutions.
For applications requiring continuous
Given the modem is around 1W, how does that
downloads, Hansson claims the device
influence overall handset power consumption?
consumes 1W, half that of competing
When sending a data stream, such as transmitting
devices. Those are the rough figures and
an image or a video clip, most power consumption
that is a heck of a difference for small
can be due to the handsets power amplifier. But
handheld devices, he said. Lowering the
we think the dominant case is when you
power consumed is important, not only
download data browsing or streaming music and
to prolong the duration between
video and that is the modem, said Hansson.
battery charges, but also to minimise
Apart from a multimedia application, such as video
the heat generated. That is because
decoding, that consumes power at the same level
other chips such as the application
as the modem means the modem dominates the
processor and the graphics engine
handsets power consumption.
also consume power and heat up
The M5730 is already being designed into
the handset. This can be
multiple customers products, says Hansson, and
problematic when watching a high
several tens of thousands of chipset samples
quality video stream, if you sum
have been delivered.

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