Murata Develops World\’s Smallest Wireless LAN Module

Murata Manufacturing Co, Ltd developed a new ultra-slim wireless LAN transceiver module designed for use in cell phones.

The module has been presented in the IEEE MIT-S International Microwave Symposium 2004 (IMS2004), an international conference on high-frequency wireless technology, held in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, since June 6, 2004.

One of its key features is ultra-miniaturization of the ceramic module to the size of 9.6mm x 9.6mm x 1.8mm in which all the functions needed for data transmission via wireless LAN are housed, including an RF transceiver and MAC control circuits.

Among all the known wireless LAN transceiver modules in the market, Murata’s is the smallest, it said.

Murata has already started limited shipments of the module to some cell phone makers. The module will first appear in the US market in smart phones and other devices.

The company has a good business record on its Bluetooth transceiver module, paving the way for miniaturization, thus acquiring large customers, such as Nokia Corp, and eventually increasing shipments. The company is also trying to make its wireless LAN module become the choice for cell phones by virtue of its small size.

Specifically, Murata succeeded in creating a space-saving module based on the low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology by embedding chips and passive components inside the substrate.

The number of layers of LTCC is 15 to 20, which is almost equal to that in its Bluetooth transceiver module. The chipset adopted for the new module consists of two chips: an RF transceiver IC conforming to the wireless LAN standards IEEE802.11b/g for the 2.4GHz frequency band and an LSI for MAC control and baseband processing.

Integrated into the RF transceiver IC is a two-stage power amplifier, with an output capability up to +20dBm, that eliminates the use of an external amplifier. The maker of the chipset has not been made public, but it is believed to be US Marvell Semiconductor Inc.

Aiming at individual cell phone makers, Murata has already prototyped different sizes of transceiver modules. One of them they say is smaller than 9mm square. The company plans to demonstrate operation with these modules at CEATEC 2004 to be held in October 2004.

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