Ethertronics have been active for around 15 years specializing in the design of mobile phone and WiFi antennae and associated technology. In a recent press release they announced the introduction of their EtherChip EC482 chip which incorporates active antenna beam steering technology, providing Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) for WiFi and other 5 GHz applications using single or multi-antenna installations.
Ethertronics’ Active Steering technology is able to generate multiple radiation patterns from a single antenna structure. The EC482 enables Ethertronics’ Active ‘beam steering’ technique from a wireless device by monitoring the RF link performance and through a combination of closed loop and predictive algorithms, optimally selects the antenna radiation pattern that provides the best RF link performance. The EC482 is the master controller of this process, containing not only the RF electronics, which implement antenna beam steering, but also the control software and embedded processor that host Ethertronics’ proprietary algorithm. This continuously optimizes the RF communications link to provide enhanced throughput. This capability gives improved range, data throughput and signal quality for applications such as video streaming. Additional advantages include interference reduction, robustness in multipath environments, improved connection reliability and better spectral efficiency. Control interfaces to the chip include SPI, I2C UART and MIPI.
With an operating frequency range of 100 MHz to 7 GHz the EC482 has a footprint of just 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.75 mm and is available in a QFN 24-pin package. Power requirements are said to be low and suitable for battery operation.