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Fastrax has selected SiGe’s SE4120 to power its Software GPS system.

This combination results in a Software GPS system complemented with 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 the Fastrax Software GPS.

By deploying SiGe’s IC, Fastrax Software GPS provides the best user experience in a range of applications with a navigation sensitivity as high as -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.

A software-based GPS allows faster time-to-market with fewer costs and more adjustable features.

With Fastrax Software GPS, the GPS functionality can be customised for each specific device and application.

The new system will initially use SE4120L or SE4120S devices and will support all known operating systems, including all Microsoft Windows platforms, Embedded Linux and Nucleus, which will provide wider opportunities for device manufacturers.

Fastrax Software GPS focuses on the optimisation of signal acquisition and correlation, the functions typically requiring the most CPU power and memory in GPS solutions.

It obtains the best performance on every platform, depending on available 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 was originally designed for embedded environments.

The SE4120 is a highly integrated GPS/GNSS radio front-end IC, offering high performance and low power operation in a wide 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, removing the need for a SAW filter in many applications.

The SE4120’s on-chip IF filter may 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 synthesizer of the SE4120 requires only two passive components to implement an off-chip loop filter.

The SE4120 is optimised for the lowest possible power consumption, consistent with a very low external component count.

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