Imagination Technologies has developed an audio synchonization technology for WiFi networks that the company aims to license to consumer-audio chipmakers and OEMs. The UK-based IP provider has already recruited Frontier Silicon and Imagination’s Pure consumer electronics subsidiary has started shipping products.
The Caskeid protocol, for which Imagination has filed patents, combines aspects of the IP-based Network Time Protocol (NTP) and physical-layer timing signals in the WiFi standard itself to prevent audio signals sent to multiple speakers from going out of sync. The use of the embedded timing signal brings the delay across active wireless speakers that may be deployed in multiple rooms around a house down to 50µs. Imagination says existing techniques for synchronization offer poor performance or take tens of minutes to reach tight synchronization.
The protocol can work as software with an existing WiFi interface but a spokesperson for Imagination said hardware support for Caskeid would provide the minimum possible latency.
Imagination has developed an app framework that supports Caskeid for both Android and iOS, providing control over Caskeid-compatible products from a smartphone or tablet.