Electronic Design

802.11G, Bluetooth Should Bolster WLAN Success

The WLAN market is a bright spot in today's difficult economy, generating positive returns and growing revenues. Increasing competition is resulting in dramatic price erosion. Another interesting trend is the customization occurring for platform and user-specific market requirements.

There are basically two opinions in the market. One, single-standard solutions will give way to combo 802.11a/g solutions meeting all platforms' and segments' needs with a single-card option. Two, the market will segment along each standard's benefits, with different needs being met by different types of cards. Mobilian believes the market will segment.

Regarding how much of the market 802.11g will own versus other standards, I think it will be sizable. In the rapidly growing home and small business markets, 802.11g's three supported channels and 54-Mbit/s data rate will be more than sufficient for their wireless needs, and 802.11g will have a significant presence due to its backward-compatibility with the 802.11b installed base.

The Bluetooth market is make or break over the next year. There is currently good momentum for the Bluetooth 1.1 standard, with massive industry support from many Tier 1 players like Microsoft and Toshiba, as well as the accompanying rollout of many excellent products. The determining factors for the standard's ultimate continued success are interoperability and the user experience.

Regarding specification upgrades, the Bluetooth SIG feels that it must get Bluetooth 1.1 right before rolling out anything new. The SIG is working on a next generation, but the spotlight is on 1.1 for now.

My company's primary product is our two-chip combination Bluetooth plus Wi-Fi (802.11b) TrueRadio chip set. The magic of the chip set is that it addresses all the potential coexistence concerns one encounters when Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are co-located. Why this is important relates back to the fact that the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi markets are both ramping nicely and have complementary usage models that fit well in many platforms, such as synchronizing handhelds via Bluetooth with a PC or using Bluetooth peripherals with a WLAN-enabled PC. Over the next few quarters, Mobilian will announce the new WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security standards, a TrueRadio chip set with even lower power and smaller footprint, and a TrueRadio chip set with an OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) modem supporting the 802.11g standard and eventually the 802.11a standard.

TAGS: Toshiba
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