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Scenix Introduces Industry's First Software Modem for 8-Bit Embedded Applications.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 8, 1998--Scenix Semiconductor, Inc. has released a reference design that implements a fully functional 1200-baud FSK/2400-baud DPSK modem in software using the Scenix SX Series 8-bit microcontroller (MCU).

The modem is fully compliant with Bell 202 and CCITT V.22 bis standards. The reference design, which also includes DTMF generation and detection and Caller ID functions, allows engineers to reduce parts count and total system cost in embedded applications requiring data connectivity, including point-of-sale terminals, automatic teller machines, answering machines and remote data gathering and metering systems.

The Scenix SX Series 50 MHz microcontroller is the only 8-bit MCU capable of fully executing modem functions in software. Until now, software-implemented modems required a relatively expensive 16- or 32-bit MCU or digital signal processor (DSP). Other 8-bit MCU solutions require an external modem chip, increasing both the parts count and total system cost.

The modem reference design replaces external components with Scenix-designed "Virtual Peripherals." The reference design incorporates software modules that perform 1200-baud FSK, 2400-baud DPSK and DTMF generation and detection, and Caller ID functions.

Additional Virtual Peripherals, including a 19.2-kbit UART interface, a 16 -bit timer, two pulse-width modulation (PWM) outputs and an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), are also part of the modem reference design. Also, because the SX MCU contains 2K x 12 bits of flash/EEPROM, it can be reprogrammed in the field to incorporate new or enhanced feature sets.

Lowest Cost Implementation

The reference design provides 1200-baud FSK or 2400-baud DPSK, DTMF and caller ID capabilities in the 8-bit market's smallest form factor and at the lowest cost.

In addition to the 50 MHz SX28AC processor, the only hardware required to implement the modem is an RS-232 jack and a transistor-based RS-232 line interface circuit for data-side connection, a line driver (DAA) and RJ-11 jack for telephone-side connection, a crystal oscillator and a few decoupling capacitors and resistors.

The entire modem can be configured to occupy an area 2 inches by 3 inches or smaller on a printed circuit board. The total bill of materials is less than $10, reducing the system cost by up to 40% compared to existing solutions.

"This is the perfect data communications solution for the wide range of applications that still require relatively low speeds, such as point-of-sale terminals and remote data gathering systems," said Stephan Thaler, vice president of marketing at Scenix.

"It's in the ideal form factor, offers the features that are most needed in those applications, can be implemented quickly and easily using Virtual Peripherals, and is the lowest cost solution available today."

The flexibility of the Virtual Peripherals approach allows the designer to select only those functions that are required for an application. For example, although the reference design supports both generation and detection at 1200 or 2400 baud, generation alone may be implemented if the application only requires low-speed data transmission.

This precise matching of functions to application is made possible by the SX Series MCU, which provides both 50 MIPS (million instructions per second) processing power and flash/EEPROM in-system reprogrammability.

About the SX Series

The SX Series is a family of 8-bit MCUs that currently run at up to 50 MHz and deliver 50 MIPS of processing power.

This unequaled performance, coupled with on-chip EEPROM-based flash, enables system designers to use "Virtual Peripherals," which are software implementations of functions that otherwise require dedicated and costly hardware, such as timers, UARTs, A/D converters, and I/O controllers.

The software code for these functions occupies a small portion of the on -board flash/EEPROM and requires relatively little of the MCU's resources for execution.

To enable this Virtual Peripheral approach, Scenix incorporated a number of innovative features into the SX Series. A four-stage (fetch-decode-execute-write back) pipeline executes one instruction per clock cycle, yielding a 20 ns instruction cycle when running at 50 MHz. (Branch instructions require three clocks, since the pipeline must refill.)

To match this performance, Scenix developed an extremely fast on-chip flash/EEPROM program memory and correspondingly fast SRAM register file. All MCU instructions are fixed-length (12 bits), and partially executed branch instructions can be canceled to enable immediate response when an interrupt is detected. This combination of features yields an interrupt response time that is always 60 ns at 50 MHz.

To complement the Virtual Peripherals, the current SX MCUs also incorporate a number of standard features on-chip including 4 MHz programmable oscillator, user-programmable three-level brown-out reset, power-on reset, watchdog timer with RC oscillator, and multi-input wakeups.

An on-chip analog comparator is also provided, which designers can use with other hardwired components or software techniques to provide potentiometer or temperature-sensing capabilities.

The SX architecture contains 43 instructions, including 33 that are designed to be object-code compatible with the PIC16C5X(R) series MCUs, enabling designers familiar with PIC to quickly be productive working with the SX Series.

However, the SX Series is truly a platform for entirely new designs that leverage the unprecedented performance and affordability of the first 8-bit MCU designed to fully leverage deep-sub-micron manufacturing technology.

About Scenix Semiconductor

Scenix Semiconductor, Inc. is headquartered in Santa Clara. Founded in 1996, the company's mission is to deliver high-performance, cost-effective, easy-to-use single-chip solutions for embedded systems. Scenix announced the SX Series family of microcontrollers in August 1997 and shipped the first production parts in late December 1997.

Additional information on Scenix and its products can be found on the Web, at www.scenix.com.

Note to Editors: (TM), (R) All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

 CONTACT: Scenix Semiconductor, Inc., Santa Clara
 Stephan Thaler, 408/327-8888
 stephan.thaler@scenix.com
 or
 FS Communications
 Joe Fowler, 650/691-1488
 joe@fscomm.com


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Date:Sep 8, 1998
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