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Nov 6, 1995

SANTA CLARA, CA., -- Nov. 6, 1995 -- National Semiconductor today announced sampling of the industry's first 4 Mbps high-speed infrared (IR) serial interface controller for personal computers. The PC87108VJE IR controller offers compatibility with the IrDA 1.0 standard and the high-speed extensions to the IrDA standard, as well as specifications for TV remote control IR and Sharp DASK-IR. It is the first member of a family of Fast IR/TV remote devices.

Extensive Range of Applications
This broad compatibility range gives personal computer designers and end users many cable-less choices for exchanging files among laptop, notebook, personal digital assistant (PDA), and desktop computers; sending data to peripherals such as printers, modems, and game controllers; connecting to network nodes; moving data to and from calculators; and controlling televisions, VCRs, and related equipment. To move files between PC87108VJE-equipped notebook and desktop computers, for example, the user simply places the notebook computer in front of the desktop system and begins the transfer.

Developers of the IR standards also envision walk-up fax machines and printers in locations such as airports and hotels, where laptop computer users can take advantage of these peripherals without using cables. Bank ATMs can incorporate the IR interface, too.

"Standardized IR interfacing opens up a new world of easy data exchange," notes Jerry Worthylake, product marketing manager for IR products at National Semiconductor. "Whether you want to pass files between an electronic organizer and a desktop PC or use a universal remote to control a Power Point presentation on a PC, IR is the way to go. The PC87108VJE offers the industry's most complete set of IR capabilities, and this is the first in a family of IR devices that National will introduce."

PC87108VJE Functions
The National Semiconductor PC87108VJE replaces or adds an additional UART in a PC or other system, and is an enhanced 16550 UART. On the system side of the controller, the PC87108VJE provides an ISA bus interface and complete support for PC'95 features, including a choice of seven interrupts and three DMA channels. The ISA interface furnishes full 16-bit address decoding, a selection of all primary and secondary ISA UART addresses (COM1 - 4), selectable base address, and an optional chip-select mode that allows the PC87108VJE to be used as a peripheral. The PC87108VJE also includes a 16550-compatible serial port that allows it to be used as a traditional UART.

On the IR side, the PC87108VJE implements four IR functional blocks: An IrDA 1.0 block offers 115.2 Kbps rates. Two blocks implement the high-speed extensions to the 1.0 specification that enable 1.152 and 4.0 Mbps rates. And a block with Sharp DASK (Digital implementation for Amplitude Shift Keying) compatible functions enables interoperability with the analog IR interfaces used in some first-generation PDAs and electronic organizers. The PC87108VJE can be configured via software to connect any of these IR functional blocks to the chip's IR interface.

IrDA Standards
The main IR standards implemented in the PC87108VJE come from the Infrared Data Association (IrDA). National Semiconductor is among the many leading firms in computers, communications, peripherals, and ICs that participate in creating IrDA standards. The IrDA 1.0 standard enables data exchanges at the highest rates now possible from high-speed PC serial ports. A number of IrDA 1.0 compatible systems and peripherals have already been introduced.

The high-speed extensions to the IrDA standard boost the data rate far beyond normal PC serial port levels. The PC87108VJE's DMA capabilities make it practical for a system to support the higher IR data rates, sometimes referred to as FIR (fast IR).