Freescale Offers Synkro Protocol RF Network Protocol to CE Manufacturers

In an effort to drive the standardization of RF technology and improve the usability of home entertainment devices, Freescale Semiconductor is now offering its radio frequency (RF) entertainment control network protocol, Synkro, to all consumer electronics manufacturers. Freescale’s Synkro protocol addresses the technology limitations and interruptions common to current infrared (IR) solutions.

The Synkro network protocol, based on the IEEE® 802.15.4 global standard, is most often used in the design of digital televisions, DVD players, set-top boxes, audio/video receivers and remote controls. Prior to making the Synkro protocol widely available, Freescale licensed the protocol exclusively to a limited number of consumer electronics manufacturers. The RF-based entertainment control network platform is now available for download at www.freescale.com/synkro for widespread use.

“Freescale is devoted to helping the home entertainment industry smoothly transition from IR to RF-based technology,” said Renee Mitchell, director of Freescale’s Business and Technology Incubator. “We are excited to contribute to this effort by expanding the availability of our Synkro protocol.”

In addition to expanding the availability of the Synkro protocol, Freescale is adding AES 128 encryption to the RF-based control network platform. This unique security feature protects command transfers that occur over RF network connections. Freescale is also introducing fragmentation as a new Synkro protocol feature in order to support large data transfers between nodes. The Synkro protocol is being provided as a codebase to be used within the BeeKit wireless connectivity toolkit; a graphical user interface (GUI) in which the user can create, modify, save and update wireless network solutions based on Freescale’s protocol stacks.

“RF remote controls will replace IR remote controls within the next four to five years,” said Glen Burchers, director of global consumer segment marketing for Freescale Semiconductor. “Consumers see the value in long-range, intelligent RF remote controls that intelligently pair with their TVs, DVD players and set-top boxes. We are ready to finally toss our old IR remotes in favor of one smart RF remote that controls all our devices.”

The industry standard being developed by the RF4CE Consortium is partially based on the Synkro protocol, so its widespread availability will give developers early access to the RF control standard for consumer electronics manufacturing.

About Synkro[tm] protocol
Synkro is the networking protocol software stack written on top of the IEEE® 802.15.4 global standard to be used in the design of home entertainment products, such as digital televisions, DVD players, audio/video receivers, set top boxes, docking stations and remote controls. The Synkro protocol provides a software and hardware migration path for future product line extensions designed to revolutionize the way consumers control their home entertainment devices. The entertainment control networking layer was developed with the consumer in mind. This technology addresses a growing concern among today’s electronics manufacturers: the technology limitations and interruptions caused by IR-based solutions that are not compatible with their consumer product roadmaps. This comprehensive platform enables advanced control capabilities, such as two-way communication between entertainment devices. It eliminates the need for line-of-sight control devices and provides the foundation for a universal remote control for any consumer electronic component. To learn more about the RF4CE Consortium, visit www.rf4ce.org.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2007 sales of $5.7 billion (USD).

Freescale and the Freescale logo are trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.