Posted in: Computer Hardware, Misc gadgets, Mobile computers

Intel’s Rosepoint chip: WiFi and CPU squeezed onto one piece of silicone

Intel’s research teams have been hard at work bringing their latest project to fruition and what you see here is the fruits of their labour. CPU and a more power efficient and faster WiFi radio, both squeezed onto a single chip.

Intel's Rosepoint chip

Intel call the chip Rosepoint and despite it being still strictly in the concept stage right now, there’s definite potential for the technology to make its way to market in the next few years.

The creation of Rosepoint stands as somewhat of a marker for Intel’s engineers. The company have spent years trying to shrink and digitize all manner of components and of all the things to have finally produced, a WiFi radio paired with a CPU is no mean feat.

Digital RF chips are far simpler by design than analogue WiFi chips and the complexities of the custom circuits and increasingly smaller scales at which such components need to be made makes it hard to produce these components at all. The creation of Rosepoint then grants all the more kudos to its creators.

Chief Technology Officer at Intel, Justin Rattner explains the benefits of their latest breakthrough, “With a digital approach to radio, you can bring the benefits of Moore’s law to RF and radio circuits.” Rattner also promised “state of the art power efficiency” when it eventually does come to market.

Despite the great achievement that the Rosepoint chip is, the company clearly aren’t resting on their laurels as they have also eluded to plans of a digital cellular radio chip in the “not too distant future,” also according to Rattner.

This is all well and good but what exactly stopped the production of such chips already? A wireless system-on-chip design is particularly susceptible to interference from itself. Squeezing a WiFi radio alongside a CPU is going to cause some upset in the quality and consistency of the radio frequencies at work and something that was probably of chief concern to the Intel engineers charged with developing Rosepoint.

Hossein Alavi, director of Intel’s Radio Integration Lab said, “this radiation seeps into the RF module and corrupts the data. The closer they (the radios) are, the more interference is going to go between them.

Rosepoint minimizes the risk of internal interference using a combination of specialist noise cancelling and radiation-shielding techniques on the chip, something Intel must be very proud of.

So when can we, the consumers, benefit from such technological breakthroughs? Well not for another year or two at least and for the afroementioned digital cellular radio, expect to wait past 2015 before you hear more about that.

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