WiFi backscatter front-end IP core for 180nm process

January 07, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Backscatter Wi-Fi transceiver core aims for GloFo 180nm
HaiLa Technologies in Canada has developed a battery-free WiFi backscatter front-end IP core for the 180nm process at GlobalFoundries.

The backscatter approach uses existing RF signals rather than a dedicated carrier to transmit data using very little energy and without a battery. Each device has an antenna to pick up an existing RF signal and uses it as a power source. It uses that power to reflect the signal, modulated with encoded data. Antennas on other devices detect that signal in a similar way.

HaiLa's first product is the RLWi4, an RF macro-cell designed for implementation in Globalfoundries' 180nm CMOS manufacturing process. HaiLa had previously said it's first product would be available for licensing before the end of 2020.

The RLWi4 is a 2.4 GHz ISM band Wi-Fi front-end IP core that uses backscatter to transmit data at up to 1 Mbit per second. It is suitable for low power sensor networks, the company said. The RLWi stands for RadioLess Wireless.

The macro is compatible with conventional Wi-Fi networks and synchronizes to, and retrieves data from length-modulated WiFi packages. The macro features a backscattering modulator, power management unit, SPI ports for control and data, and requires a 1.2V supply and a 50 MHz system clock during TX, and 5 MHz clock during RX.

The core consumes 10 μA while transmitting Wi-Fi DSSS signals at 1Mbps and consumes 2 μA when synchronizing and receiving data. This makesit suitable for applications in IoT sensor networks in industrial and building automation and in smart homes.



Further reading

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Design software accelerates antenna array development for automotive radar applications

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