Intel moves into wireless and speeds up signal coding

Intel, in conjunction with Analog Devices, has made its first move into the wireless communications market with its development...

Intel, in conjunction with Analog Devices, has made its first move into the wireless communications market with its development of a chipset architecture to combine digital signal processor (DSP) and microcontroller features, writes Daniel Thomas.

The companies say the integrated Micro Signal Architecture will bring improvements in ease of programmability, performance and power consumption. It is designed for processing modem, audio, video, image and voice signals in battery-powered, communications devices.

“The new Micro Signal Architecture will play a vital role in the Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture, as we work to speed the development of applications and hardware for next generation wireless Internet access devices,” said Ron Smith, vice president and general manager of Intel’s wireless communications and computing group.

DSPs provide the power to process voice and image signals in mobile phones, personal organisers, digital cameras and handheld video games. DSPs work alongside microprocessors that run applications in these handheld devices.

“The DSP core will naturally proliferate throughout Analog Devices’ general-purpose DSP portfolio. We will also use the core in chipset solutions that integrate our high performance analogue, DSP and radio frequency technology,” explained Jerry Fishman, president and chief executive of Analog.

The two companies also announced the availability of a software program compiler which allows programmers to write signal processing and control code in the C/C++ languages. The compiler includes profiling tools which automatically identify intense signal processing “hot spots” requiring further optimisation by the programmer. Intel and Analog say this typically results in over 80% of the C/C++ code remaining in the final code, saving thousands of staff months in development time and reducing overall time-to-market.

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