The world’s first Weightless silicon has arrived. This is a seminal moment in the roadmap enabling real development work to commence on the design of Weightless terminal products and applications.

Samples are available today to select partners from Weightless Promoter Group Member, Neul, to begin testing and development of new white space-enabled products.

The Weightless SIG includes silicon vendors amongst its membership and discussions are ongoing with many about the development of devices expected to reach the market in due course. Neul will not be the only supplier of chipsets but importantly it is now enabling designers to kick start their Weightless development programmes.

Benefits of Weightless

Capable of tuning across the entire UHF TV white space spectrum (470 – 790MHz), the single chip solution draws very little power while delivering reliable, secure, long range wireless connectivity to previously unreachable applications and locations. In volume, silicon is realisable for less USD$2, to enable a 10+ year battery life from a single primary cell and achieve a range of over 10km.

Developed by the team behind the world’s first single-chip Bluetooth device, the Weightless silicon communicates using white space radio to access the high quality UHF spectrum that has become available through the transition of television from analog to more efficient digital broadcasting. Utilising this license exempt spectrum, the innovative & disruptive wireless network technology dramatically reduces the costs associated with running a communications network.

Functional Specification

Radio

The Radio operates over the entire TV white space frequency range, from 470MHz to 790MHz, and supports both 6 MHz and 8 MHz channel bandwidths. The radio transmitter converts the baseband digital signal from the PHY into an RF signal, while the radio receiver converts the received RF signal into a baseband digital signal that is passed to the PHY.  The radio conforms to the strict white space regulatory requirements relating to the transmitter spectral mask.

PHY

The digital transmit section of the Physical Layer (PHY) takes the data packets formed in the MAC and applies a range of different digital modulation schemes and error correction methods according to the trade-off between data rate and range that is required for a given application. At good SNR, QAM modulation is used to provide higher data rates, while, at low SNR, direct sequence spread spectrum is employed which gives a considerable increase in range albeit at lower data rates. The receive section of the PHY receiver converts the received baseband digital signal from the Radio into an error corrected, decoded data packet that is then sent to the MAC.

MAC

The Medium Access Controller performs the framing and scheduling of the data to be sent over the air. It also performs error detection and retransmission of corrupted data packets. Furthermore, it implements the encryption mechanisms to ensure secure data transfers over the air.

Controller

An onboard Microcontroller controls all of the chips subsystems and implements the higher level operations of the MAC that are not covered by the dedicated MAC hardware.

Interfaces

A Memory-mapped parallel bus interface is provided for connecting to an external application processor. Discrete interrupt lines can be used for waking the application processor upon reception of a relevant frame. PIOs are available for controlling the external RF front-end, such as a high power Power Amplifier, and for any other signaling required to external devices. An SPI port is provided as a debug interface.

What’s next?

View Weightless Specification

Register to join the Weightless SIG. You can join as an Observer at no cost to receive more information and regular updates about developments in Weightless. There are lots of exciting things about to happen and news you don’t want to miss! Registering with the SIG also gives you access to a very detailed summary of the Weightless Specification.

Alternatively, you can join the SIG as an Associate or Core Member to immediately download the full Weightless Specification (including Test Specification). This 300+ page document is a comprehensive ‘design blueprint’ for Weightless systems with everything needed to begin development of your Weightless terminal product.

For more information and a full technical specification please contact Neul.

Read more about Weightless



Events

Press Releases