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Weightless launches first white space silicon

The would-be standards group's chip claims ultra-low power consumption for M2M applications in TV spectrum spaces

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 12 February, 2013

READ MORE: Spectrum | UK | M2M | Semiconductor

Weightless, the group hoping to create industry standards for devices in the white spaces spectrum, has unveiled its first commercial silicon.

The radio transceiver will power products running in the white spaces in TV spectrum - approved for licence-exempt use in the US and under review by many other regulators. The silicon is based on the Weightless specifications which are particularly geared to low cost, ultra-low power devices for machine-to-machine systems such as smart grid. M2M is seen as a major potential application for the spaces, although other groups are more heavily focused on long range broadband wireless or 'Super Wi-Fi'.


The UK-based Weightless Special Interest Group (SIG), founded by start-up Neul and backed by larger supporters like ARM, is now offering the chipset to partners for testing in products for the internet of things. The single-chip transceiver, called Iceni. can work in all the UHF frequencies from 470MHz to 790MHz.

"This is a seminal moment in the evolution of Weightless technology," said William Webb, CEO of the Weightless SIG, in a statement. "For the first time designers around the world can begin developing next generation M2M solutions using Weightless technology with silicon designed explicitly to be compatible with the standard." The SIG claims the combination of Iceni and Weightless drives down cost and power consumption to new levels, "opening up applications that are not technically or commercially feasible using alternative technologies".

James Collier, CEO of Neul, commented: "Weightless is a major opportunity for silicon vendors. With a forecast 5-10bn devices to be shipped per year, this is a market that is bigger than cellular, and one that will support as many as a dozen major silicon vendors. The Weightless SIG already has silicon companies as members, and we expect a number of them to develop their own silicon."

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