The WAVE Report
Issue #0425------------------7/2/2004

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0425.1 Hot Topics

New Parental Control Gateway from ZyXEL Provides Easy Solution for Safe Home Internet Surfing

0425.2 Story of the Issue

Computex 2004

0425.3 Communications

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: More Than One-Half of Households Now Bundle Their Long-Distance Service with Another Telecommunications Product

0425.4 Power Systems

Fairchild Announces 8-Bit Dual-Voltage Translators in Space- Saving MLP Packaging for Battery-Powered Portables


0425.1 Hot Topics

***New Parental Control Gateway from ZyXEL Provides Easy Solution for Safe Home Internet Surfing

June 30, 2004

ZyXEL Communications Inc announced wired and wireless models of its HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway (HS-100 & HS-100W), first-of-their-kind home networking solutions that combine Internet sharing, firewall protection, optional wireless connectivity, and the most advanced parental control capabilities available today. Unlike parental control services that are configured through complicated independent software applications, HomeSafe's advanced parental control features are easily managed and enforced at the gateway.

ZyXEL's HomeSafe gateways provide households with secure broadband Internet access, traffic management, and parental control functionality through a single, cost-effective point of control for all PCs on the network. Access to websites and other online content such as Internet-based games, music file-sharing, images, video, and email are controlled through the gateway. HomeSafe's unprecedented feature set includes:

-- Subject-based content filtering to block objectionable websites

-- Free content filtering trial subscription

-- Email notification of when a user attempts to access an inappropriate site

-- Configurable time/day limits on Internet access, chat, instant messaging, online gaming and other activities

-- Unique user profiles for each family member

-- Intuitive and easy-to-use configuration wizards

The HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway enables parents to create customized profiles for each individual family member based on such innovative features as time management and time allowance. HomeSafe's time management feature allows parents to establish time-of-day parameters, during which the Internet may be accessed, while time allowance enables parents to set the total amount of Internet access time allowed within one day. Ideal for young and mature teen users, the time management and time allowance features enable parents to give their children age-appropriate freedom under a suitable usage budget.

Integrated Content Filtering, Firewall, Routing and Networking Capabilities Enable Protection and Management of the Home Network

HomeSafe's content filtering features are offered as a subscription service; all other parental control features are available without any recurring fees.

A single easy-to-use Web-based management interface enables account management for all users, which parents can remotely access via the Internet. Unlike software-based solutions, HomeSafe is operating system-independent and delivers the same level of parental control to PCs and PDAs running any OS.

Before a user is allowed Internet access through the family network, he or she is required to log onto the HomeSafe system by simply opening a web browser. HomeSafe then redirects the user's browser to the system's login screen where a valid username and password must be entered to begin the customized Internet access session. Once a user is logged in, he or she is subject to the access rules assigned to his or her login account rather than other standard PC access controls, providing an added level of security.

HomeSafe operates separately from standard PCs, making it less likely to be hacked or circumvented. Access to the gateway is password protected and alerts are given to administrators/parents if attempts to bypass the system occur. Such attempts include unplugging the HomeSafe box or turning off the power.

Both models of the ZyXEL HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway feature integrated 4-port 10/100Mbps switch, Internet-sharing NAT router, stateful packet inspection firewall and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). In addition, the HomeSafe 100W supports 802.11g and 802.11b wireless standards and incorporates an extensive range of wireless security features, such as WPA, 802.1x user authentication, and MAC address filtering to prevent data from being viewed by unauthorized users during wireless transmission. As an advantage, the HomeSafe firewall offers real-time alerts, reports and logs for secure and efficient network management.

Pricing and Availability

List price for the ZyXEL HS-100 and HS-100W HomeSafe Parental Control Gateways are $59.99 and $79.99 respectively and will be widely available through ZyXEL's national network of authorized resellers and select online retailers beginning August 1.

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0425.2 Story of the Issue

***Computex 2004
By John Latta

June 1 – 5, 2004

The WAVE spoke with an exhibitor from London. He said it well. There are only two PC shows left: CeBIT and Computex. It is a pain to go to both events but essential for a company in the hardware business.

Computex – From the Floor

It seems to get more crowded each year. Now in 4 halls scattered in 4 city blocks, it is a pain to maneuver in the tight quarters. Yet, there is nothing like this. This is the best PC hardware show in the world. There is much to gripe about but one cannot ignore the simple fact that there are more hardware products here for the PC than anyplace. With some 5 years of continuous attendance, the relative changes between shows is an important indicator of the industry. Here is our list for 2004.

Quality of the ID

Increasingly the design of end products is improving. Yes, there remain copy-like products but the displays, cameras, USB drives and media players, for example, show strong style elements. When they win worldwide design competition, this is shown in the booth. We continue to be impressed with the originality that comes from the Taiwanese companies.

Home Market

There is a home booth, Intel is promoting it and media servers for the home are on the floor. This is more than we have seen before at Computex. It shows that the companies are going beyond just the PC. We found it interesting the one AV server was running Linux.

Heat Sinks and Fans

There should be no question that PC has a heat problem after walking this floor. Some of the fans on the CPU are nearly 5” in diameter and look like a wind tunnel on top of the processor.


A larger section of the show floor this year is devoted to software. Microsoft has booth which gives an enhanced presence, over last year, and focuses on the embedded market. We still do not see exhibitions of boxed software products such as the OS or even Adobe, but just having a strong and increasing software presence is a very positive sign.


This remains a big area and it goes from antennas, to all forms of wireless to wired switches.

Rack Mount Cases

It was a running joke – how can the market support all the case companies? Now the emphasis has shifted to rack mount cases. We could not miss, however, the regular cases and all forms of neon lighting possible including in the fans.


Video cameras seem to be down but not still cameras. This could well be that these companies have a strong OEM/ODM business and do not sell directly to the outside.

PCI Express

Early signs of the emergence of this market and the end of AGP add on cards.

Sophisticated Disk Products

Last year it was NAS and SCSI arrays for rack mounting. For the first time, iSCSI is in the booths. Still early and expensive but these products are an important sign of the disaggregation of the PC.


In the past only in Japan have we seen strong GPS Products. Now they are appearing here in many form factors. It is like - GPS is just another technology that can be integrated into products.

Worldwide Presence

A very positive sign for this event is the presence of companies from Japan and the US. This continues to expand this year. However, there is no U.S. pavilion like last year.

AMD on a 64-bit Roll

AMD used Computex to announce the:

Athlon 64 FX-53 processor for socket 939 platforms
Athlon 64 processor 3800+ for socket 939 platforms
Athlon 64 processor 3500+ for socket 939 platforms
Atholn 64 processor 3700+ for socket 754 platforms

The migration to 939 sockets means that registered memory is no longer required.

AMD states that their vision is for

Pervasive 64 bit computing

At this time, in the desktop space, they are targeting computers priced in the $700 to $1100 price range. This will have high appeal in three segments:

Digital Video
Digital Imaging

AMD hopes to see Media PC functionality this year and this is not dependent on Microsoft announcing a 64 bit version of the media PC.

PCI Express support is important for the target markets and this is expected in Q3 – Q4 of this year.

The 64 bit mobile processors were announced on January 6th. It claims that the first notebook, the eMachines M6805, is moving very quickly. At Best Buy it is priced at $1,499.

Acer – Ferrari 3200 – Notebook that Turns Heads

The WAVE saw this being sold at retail in Taipei before Computex only 2 days after it was announced. Beautiful design. Under the hood this is a screamer:

Mobil AMD Athlon 64 processor 2800+
512MB of memory with support to 2GB
15” SXGA+ - 1400 X 1050 display
ATI Mobility RADEON9700 display processor with 128MB
Reader for MMC, SD, Smart Media and Memory Stick
DVD Drive which supports DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, more
56K modem
10/100/1000 BaseT
3 Hour Battery life claimed
4 X USB 2.0
IEEE 1394
S-Video/TV Out

No docking station. Slated for next model.

In the Acer booth there was an autographed Ferrari 3200. [Others claimed to have mobil Athlon 64 notebooks but did not see any other than in the AMD booth.]

Salient Technologies – Making the Mouse like a Pen

Citing a study at Cornell University (see, Salient Technologies believes that pen shaped mouse is the right way to go. They have the V-mouse. The WAVE has seen this before but the company is still seeking a market. Shaped like a pen but with a bottom section of approximately 1” the pen mouse stands on its end. It is an optical mouse. Claiming 1000 DPI it allows the mouse function to cover a 1024 X 768 screen in the size of a business card. The first product is called VM-101.

G-TEK – Innovative Voice Bridge

G-TEK has a small box that fits into your pocket, purse or case. It is the voice gateway. The Bluetooth headset is just a component of this combination. The voice gateway is one of the first in an emerging market that bridges phone and access products over a wireless network. G-TEK reports that its product has the following:

Work in Tri-Bands with GSM/GPRS

Supports SMS, EMS and MMS and fax
Built in echo cancellation when using hands free
Supports up to 2 SIM modules


Power modes: Park, Sniff, Hold and Deep sleep
Piconet and Scatternet support
Up to 7 slaves supported

Wireless LAN

WEP at 40bit and 128bit


GSM and G711 SIP

A user can use a PDA to do dialing and not need a cell phone. A user can make calls over WiFi with the PDA doing dialing. Least cost routing is possible. The next generation device will have its own key pad and not need a PDA. The next generation device will allow for bridging to landlines in the home.

With this box one does not even need a cell phone because of the SIM card support.

Pricing is $399.

The WAVE Report had insightful discussions with G-TEK about the headset market.

The headset market is a very difficult one. Competition is rampant. There are only two discriminators: size and price. Smaller size wins but everyone is doing this.

The European adoption has been considerable with the U.S. well behind.

One factor that is impeding the Bluetooth headset market is the need to support two profiles: headset and hands free. Nearly all the cell phone companies support headsets but Nokia supports hands free. One has to be careful when buying a headset to make sure it will work with the phone being used.

The trend in the headset business is similar to that present in the IT business overall. The market dynamics are that the next product be better and smaller. That is, typically smaller units perform better. It is not uncommon to see one half the size and 2X the performance. Thus, every one is driven by this. In the headset business we have a different consideration – for a mic to speaker separation of less than 6mm, the echoes become difficult due to cross talk, it is not good to keep reducing the size.

The development pace here is Asia is frantic. Typically the development time, from concept to production, is 6 months. Once in a while we have a year, but this is the exception. Rapid development cycles are the norm and we cannot slow down. Our competition is not. For example, if one looks at Sony Ericsson – they have multiple new phones a year, coming onto the market every few months. They cannot let up on the development cycle and stay in business.

DigiMemo – Not Giving Up on the Ink Interface

Acecad has a simple tablet device which captures writing on a tablet of paper for the PC. This uses “E&M tracking” on an ordinary pad of paper which sits on a digital pad that tracks and stores the strokes. They have written the DigiMemo Manager which allows one to view, edit, and organize the writing on sheets. There is 8MB of built in memory and can be augmented by a CF card. The digital pad will store up to 999 sheets of paper.

The demonstration was simple but effective. The cost is only $99 retail.

Agilent – 2 New Mouse Chips Announced

Agilent had a booth here for the first time. The WAVE Report interviewed Christine Liu, Strategic Marketing Manager, Sensor Systems Division. Agilent used Computex to announce two new chips:


40”/s travel rate
15G acceleration
6400 f/s imaging
Sampling now
Focused on the game, high end fast response market


Low power operation
6 months of battery life
Sample in August

Shown in the booth was a reference design for an IR based mouse. This uses an IR LED and provides a means for mouse companies to differentiate their products in the market. There are no performance changes. This is a cosmetic mouse.

Another reference design was shown using FreeScale, a.k.a. the Motorola Semiconductor operation, controller chip. This was at 27MHz and used a low power controller at 3.3v. In spite of working with FreeScale it was stated there is still a relationship with Cypress.

6 – 8 months ago Agilent introduced a logo program. This has been adopted by Chic, Areson and A4Tech. The WAVE did not see this on any mice except in the Agilent booth.

The future of the market is wireless. To accomplish this Agilent will work with its partners, such as FreeScale, to lower the overall levels of power consumption.

Xnet Technologies – Moving Mesh Networks to Market

Xnet Technologies had buried a low cost AP at the booth that is a mesh network capable router. At only $220, it is focused on the mass market. The WAVE spoke at length with the software developer. This could well be the beginning of a new era of low cost wireless networking.

There was a large poster that summarized the Mesh Network Router, MWS1241AG, in the Xnet Technologies booth and it drew our attention. There are actually 4 models planned which include combinations of a and g radios. But the router looks no different that a normal access point.

There are many mesh network products/services surfacing such as those by: MeshNetworks, PacketHop; Tropos Networks, SkyPilot and Locustworld. The Xnet Technologies product is closest to Locustworld in that it is focused on the home or small business. A price point of $220 places this directly in the low end of the market.

The WAVE spoke at length with Tom Kee the founder of Xwire, who is developing the software for this router. The product is based on work that Tom has been doing for a number of years on X86 based machines and AP that he has stripped open to host his code. He had an earlier installation in a castle in Europe, where the software was tested and refined. His current efforts for Xnet is to port the X86 version to ARM 9. The intent is to create a simple structure for the mesh topology. The focus is on “turn it on and it works” user installation criteria.

The software is being completed and will enter beta in a few weeks. It is expected that the product will go on sale within 2 months.

Disk Drives as a Driver

Hitachi and Toshiba were here at Computex. They showed a full line of disk drives down to the micro drives. In the Toshiba booth they showed a disk drive in a cell phone. iSCSI is finally emerging and it has the potential to separate the disk drive from the computer to the host device. One vendor said that iSCSI will really make sense in the home when there are high speed connections between devices, possibly UWB. Disk drive prices continue to fall. Sunday paper ads broadcast pricing at 50¢/GB. But reliability continues to drop for commodity drives. The market is in turmoil. The WAVE offers this simple point to ponder:

The availability of low cost mass storage in any form factor anywhere changes markets.

Apple based its iPod on the value of having a large drive in a small form factor.

We are just at the beginning of a shift in the market, of whose dimensions are not clear.

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0425.3 Communications

***J.D. Power and Associates Reports: More Than One-Half of Households Now Bundle Their Long-Distance Service with Another Telecommunications Product

July 1, 2004--

The number of long distance telephone customers opting to bundle their telecommunications products with one provider continues to rise significantly, with more than one-half of households now bundling services, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Residential Long Distance Telephone Service Study(SM).

The share of households that report at least bundling their local and long distance services with one carrier has increased from 26 percent in 2002 to 51 percent in 2004 -- an overall increase of almost 20 million households. Customers who bundle services continue to report higher overall satisfaction, despite the fact that average household spending is essentially the same among those who bundle and those who do not. Overall, long distance spending continues to fall. The average monthly household expenditure for long distance is currently $20.80 -- down $3.60 (15 percent) from 2003.

The study segments have been restructured for 2004 due to the overwhelming impact of bundling on the long distance industry. Customer satisfaction is now measured from two perspectives: bundled long distance customers, who purchase some telecommunications services from their long distance provider, and standalone long distance customers. Factors affecting overall satisfaction are performance and reliability, cost of service, billing, image, offerings and promotions, and customer service.

Under the new structure, a cable company ranks highest in customer satisfaction for the first time in the history of the study. Cox Communications ranks highest in the bundled long distance telephone service segment, performing particularly well in performance and reliability, billing, and image.

Qwest ranks highest in customer satisfaction among standalone users, performing particularly well in billing, customer service, performance and reliability, and cost of service.

While overall satisfaction with long distance providers remained steady compared with 2003, customer service has become significantly more important to long distance customers.

The 2004 Residential Long Distance Telephone Service Study is based on a national representative sample of more than 10,500 households.

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0425.4 Power Systems

***Fairchild Announces 8-Bit Dual-Voltage Translators in Space-Saving MLP Packaging for Battery-Powered Portables

June 30, 2004--

Fairchild Semiconductor announced the FXL4245 series of eight-bit, bi-directional, low-voltage logic-level translators in MLP packaging. Designed for cell phones, notebooks and other battery-powered portable devices, the CMOS-based FXL4245 series translators provide a low-noise buffered interface with up to 24mA drive current between any 1.1V-3.6V logic state. Both models in the series accommodate bi-directional voltage translation over a variety of logic voltage (Vcc) levels, including 1.2V, 1.5V, 1.8V, 2.5V and 3.3V.

Fairchild's FXL4245 and the FXLH42245 provide configurable voltage supplies (Vcca and Vccb) for the input and output that allow translation from low to high (A to B) or high to low (B to A). In addition to 3-state outputs for logic-level translation, a standard feature of both devices, the FXLH42245 adds two additional capabilities. These include series resistance on the B-side I/O ports for noise suppression and bus hold inputs to maintain the last logic state.

All devices are offered in a 24-terminal molded leadless package (MLP) that provides a 68% size reduction over 24-lead TSSOP packages. Furthermore, the MLP package's MSL-1 (moisture sensitivity level) rating eliminates the need for costly dry bag storage prior to use on the production line. From a manufacturing standpoint, lead-free (Pb-free) FXL4245 series devices can withstand end user lead-free PC board attachment processes up to 250C. All models in the series meet or exceed the requirements of the joint IPC/JEDEC standard J-STD-020B and are compliant with European Union requirements that will take effect in 2005.

Other product features of the FXL4245 series include:

-- Fully configurable; inputs track V(cc) levels;
-- Non-preferential power-up sequencing; either V(cc) may be
powered-up first;
-- Device remains in 3-state until both V(cc)s reach an
-- Outputs switch to 3-state if either V(cc) is at GND;
-- Power-off protection of I/Os and control pins; and
-- Minimum 4 kV HBM (Human Body Model) ESD protection; 8 kV
-- I/O-to-ground protection.

The dual-voltage translators expand Fairchild's portfolio of products for portable applications. These products include analog switches, audio amplifiers, LED drivers and LEDs for backlighting, supervisory products such as temperature sensors and reset generator circuits and a variety of DC/DC conversion products including LDOs and MOSFETs.

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