January 6, 2010 -- Atheros Communications, Inc. today announced the latest member of its family of GPS solutions; its third-generation, single-chip GPS receiver, the AR1520, and companion Atheros FYX 1.0 software suite. The Atheros AR1520, based on the new Atheros FYX location core, delivers greater navigation accuracy, faster location fixes, enhanced receive sensitivity, and lower power consumption, which makes it an ideal solution for mobile consumer products such as personal navigation devices (PNDs), netbooks, smartbooks, portable gaming devices, media players and smart phones.
High-precision navigation accuracy
GPS location functionality is quickly becoming a must-have feature in a variety of mobile products. As users have become increasingly dependent on GPS technology, they are demanding greater accuracy and response time, even in tough navigation environments. GPS systems that work most of the time or with inconsistent accuracy are no longer acceptable. To address the growing, more rigorous requirements, Atheros has designed the AR1520 and the new FYX Location Core technology from the ground up with the objective of enabling its customers to build mobile products with superior navigation accuracy and speed.
The result is the proven performance of the AR1520, which has been road-tested for accuracy on some of the most challenging GPS test routes in the world — urban canyons where the view to positioning satellites is largely obstructed — such as Lower Wacker Drive, Chicago, the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and the Shinjuku and Rainbow Bridge courses in Tokyo. In these demanding road tests, the AR1520 has consistently demonstrated best-in-class accuracy.
At the heart of thisnavigation solution, Atheros' FYX Location Core delivers a strong combination of location accuracy, fast location fixes, leading receive sensitivity, and lower power for consumer electronic products. The new Atheros FYX Location Core utilizes a dual-engine design, one optimized for fast searching and one for accurate navigation tracking. The FYX core utilizes eight hardware-based search engines to secure satellite locations before handing them off to any of the available 16 dedicated tracking engines. The search engines, which have been optimized for navigation-intensive applications, can be run as eight separate search engines for quicker reacquisition times or combined into one powerful engine for faster start-up searches. To lower power consumption when full search power is not required, they can also be shut down in stages.
The Atheros tracking engines are optimized for tracking, and are superior at maintaining a lock even on very weak satellite signals, rejecting multi-path and providing precision pseudo-range, velocity and heading measurements. This unique dual-engine design not only enhances accuracy, but also results in greater power and cost efficiency than competing GPS chips.
Fast location fixes without network assistance
The Atheros AR1520 includes two new features that deliver fast location fixes similar to an assisted GPS system, but without the need for network assistance. Atheros' new ESP technology utilizes Ephemeris Self-Prediction algorithms to generate satellite ephemeris for up to five days, with no network connection. In contrast, other solutions require network assistance to seed their ephemeris prediction algorithms. According to Atheros, ESP technology delivers ultra-fast start-up times with positional accuracy twice that of the nearest competitive solution. Even following a five-day period in 'off' mode, an Atheros ESP-enabled mobile device can deliver a location fix in less than 10 seconds while maintaining high positional accuracy.
Atheros' new AlwaysReady technology utilizes advanced power domain architecture to keep the GPS chip in a state that is always ready to get a hot start fix. When placed in AlwaysReady tracking mode, the AR1520 GPS receiver continually monitors its own clock accuracy, and wakes up to recalibrate at periodic intervals to maintain peak starting performance. This delivers the performance of assisted GPS without the need to connect to a network.
Power consumption hits new lows
Leveraging Atheros Radio-on-Chip for Mobile (ROCm) technology, known for its ultra low-power designs, the FYX location solution combo helps manufacturers extend the battery life of mobile devices. The AR1520's dedicated tracking engines allow for power-hungry search engines to be powered down when not required, delivering high-accuracy urban canyon tracking performance while consuming less than 30mW of power. In less strenuous suburban settings, low-power tracking mode further reduces tracking power to well under 10mW. Atheros new proprietary AlwaysReady mode enables the device to stay in "hot start" mode while sipping less than 1mW of power.
The AR1520 combines a GPS RF front end and GPS baseband processor on a single die. It features a 32-bit CPU, which enables faster processing power for both hosted and standalone configurations, to provide greater design flexibility. In addition, to minimize the bill of materials and overall solution cost, the AR1520 has integrated several external GPS system components including an LNA and loop filter and on-board power regulators.
As a result, fewer than 10 external system components are required. The solution also features dedicated tracking channels, which provide high clock drift tolerance, allowing for the Atheros solution to utilize a less expensive TCXO without sacrificing navigation performance.
The FYX 1.0 software suite provides Windows CE, Linux 2.6 and other OS support for hosted applications. In addition, Atheros' Install n' Go Application Development Kit (ADK) enables fast and easy integration of GPS into any device based on these operating systems.
The AR1520 and FYX 1.0 software solution provides an easy upgrade path from existing designs based on Atheros' GPS previous solutions and is sampling to customers now.
Go to the Atheros Communications, Inc. website to find additional information.