Imagination unveils first members of Ensigma Whisper IP family

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Imagination Technologies has unveiled the first members of its Ensigma Whisper flexible connectivity IP family, which have been designed specifically to enable the integration of ultra-low power communications in SoCs targeting wearables, IoT and other connected devices that require extended battery life.

The Ensigma Whisper radio processing units (RPUs) have been designed to give customers the option to choose to integrate Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth Smart, or a combination of the two standards, depending on their specific application.

The Whisper RPUs are based on the ultra-low power Ensigma Whisper Series5 architecture and complement the Ensigma Explorer RPU family, which is focused on high-performance on-chip communications. With built-in processors and a high level of configurability, Ensigma RPUs are flexible and can support multiple standards.

According to Imagination repurposing mobile or other existing connectivity chips or IP doesn'twork when it comes to designing wearables and other ultra-low power IoT devices.

"Connectivity IP must be built from the ground up for these new applications, with a focus on low power consumption and compact area," explained Richard Edgar, director of communications technology.

As a result the new Whisper IP cores are configurable engines that are purpose-built for integration onto next-generation SoCs targeting IoT and other applications including smartwatches, home automation, healthcare, automotive, industrial and beyond.

In addition, a range of customisable RF and analogue front-ends are available from Imagination if needed.

Imagination is initially offering the Whisper RPUs in three versions: the C5400: Wi-Fi 802.11n IP for low-power devices capable of audio/video streaming, which enables customers to achieve Wi-Fi connectivity at the power levels of Bluetooth Classic while delivering better performance per MHz; the C5300, Bluetooth Smart IP for ultra-low power, short range connectivity providing control functionality in devices including sensor hubs, wearables and home automation and the C5401, which is intended for applications such as wearables. This IP combines Bluetooth Smart for control applications and Wi-Fi 802.11n for streaming; capable of operating concurrently

Ensigma Whisper RPUs feature highly optimised, configurable hardware along with Imagination's PowerGearing for Ensigma that optimises both static and dynamic power consumption in the cores.

The Whisper architecture, with its tightly coupled modem/MIPS processor, is able to offer improved levels of standby power by enabling IoT and wearable devices to awaken more quickly and consume less power in the wake-up process.

The tightly-coupled modem/processor in Ensigma Whisper RPUs means that for sensor applications, customers can choose to eliminate the host processor or alleviate its load, leading to the smaller embedded system size and lower power consumption.