Fastrax have selected SiGe semiconductors SE4120 radio front-end to boost their software GPS to a sensitivity of –163 dBm. Fastrax, suppliers of high performance GPS receivers, GPS software solutions and tracking systems for location-aware devices and available through GLYN High-Tech Distribution , and SiGe Semiconductor, have announced that they have selected SiGe Semiconductor SE4120 to power their software GPS solution.
As a result of the collaboration, the Fastrax Software GPS and SiGe Semiconductor’s SE4120 radio front-end offers a high performance GPS solution in addition to a reference design to enable easy integration by third parties. The reference design is also available as a turnkey solution in the Fastrax iT900 RF module. This combined offering converts the GPS radio frequency (RF) signal into a digital intermediate frequency (IF) signal that is processed by Fastrax Software GPS solution. By deploying SiGe Semiconductor IC, the Fastrax software GPS solution can be used in a range of applications with a navigation sensitivity of up to -163 dBm.
The software-based approach is expected to increase the speed of adoption of GPS functionalities beyond the high-end cell phones. Target platforms include personal navigation devices (PNDs), mobile internet devices (MIDs), ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), personal media players (PMPs), smartphones, digital cameras and laptops.
Traditional GPS solutions require the integration of a GPS specific baseband and a software-based solution allows faster time-to-market with less costs and adjustable features. With Fastrax Software GPS, the GPS functionality can easily be managed and customised to be fully optimised for each specific device and application.
According to Fastrax, when combining Fastrax software GPS solution with SiGe’s SE4120, high tracking sensitivity of up to -163 dBm can be delivered.
Both SiGe Semiconductor and Fastrax focus on quality, low-power and high-sensitivity devices for reliable performance and stable GPS services. According to SiGe Semiconductor, Fastrax have deployed their GPS solutions and have built a platform that offers improved performance and that are suitable for location-aware applications. The new solution will initially use SE4120L or SE4120S devices and will support operating systems including all Microsoft Windows platforms, Embedded Linux and Nucleus, which provides opportunities for device manufacturers.
Fastrax Software GPS solution focuses on the optimisation of signal acquisition and correlation, the functions requiring the most CPU power and memory in GPS solutions. It delivers better performance on every platform, depending on the processing power and memory. Fastrax Software GPS flexibility enables portability to a range of CPUs, specific application processors and operating systems as it is based on the Fastrax iSuite architecture, which is designed for embedded environments.
The SE4120 is an integrated GPS/GNSS radio front-end IC, offering high performance and low power operation in a range of low-cost applications. It supports GPS and dual-mode L1-band GPS/GNSS products. The SE4120 features a conditioned interface for software implementations of GNSS baseband signal processing.
The SE4120 includes an on-chip LNA, a low intermediate frequency (IF) receiver with a linear AGC and an advanced multi-bit I/Q analogue to digital converter (ADC) with serialised data output. The receiver incorporates a fully integrated image reject mixer, obviating the need for a SAW filter in several applications. The SE4120’s on-chip IF filter can be adjusted from 2.2 MHz BW (for GPS only) to 4.4MHz BW (for simultaneous reception of GPS and GNNS signals). The digitised I/Q output, centred near-zero IF, is available in a serialised data stream to facilitate software signal processing.
The integrated PLL synthesiser of the SE4120 requires two passive components to implement an off-chip loop filter. The SE4120 is optimised for low possible power consumption consistent with a low external component count.