Wireless Systems Design

NICs Give Non-Laptop Devices WLAN Access

Power consumption has always been one of the biggest obstacles to Wi-Fi-based product mobility. A lot of stress has fallen on the handheld devices that combine the high-speed-access capabilities of WLAN chip sets. They've been hard-pressed to meet user demands for device miniaturization and extended battery recharging times. One promising solution to these conflicting demands is the SyChip Secure Digital WLAN Card. These miniature wireless network-interface-card (NIC) reference designs are intended for the wireless PDAs, ultra-thin notebooks, and cellular phones that need broadband-speed Internet connectivity.

The company's latest NIC reference-design product is the WLAN6065SD SDIO Wi-Fi card. This card is the successor to the WLAN6060SD, which is already in use with many OEMs. The company also is developing software drivers for its Wi-Fi SD cards. These drivers will support Samsung's (www.samsung.com) i600 handsets and Microsoft's (www.microsoft.com) smart phone. Such cellular-PDA handsets will be able to access both cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Smart phones and camera phones are among the newer devices that may benefit from the WLAN connectivity provided by the WLAN6065SD 802.11b card. Because these devices are so power limited, the SD card will allow the user to optimize between performance and battery life. In addition, the driver design supports Microsoft WinCE Windows Zero Configuration capabilities and the SyChip configuration utility. This support is especially important for enterprise customers, who require full control of the configuration and WLAN setup.

According to the company, the WLAN6065SD can be used in SPI, 1-b, and 4-b SD transfer modes for speeds of up to 100 Mbps. Improved utilities and drivers provide a better plug-and-play user experience. The SD features a peer-to-peer mode (without an access point) to download data from wireless-equipped handhelds without a cradle or network connection. In the very near future, a whole host of wireless gaming devices will need this peer-to-peer capability.

A complete driver suite will be offered for the WLAN6065SD card. The Windows drivers will include Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows CE (supporting CE 3.0 and higher for Pocket PC and CE.net platforms). The card is expected to be interoperable with the Palm OS (OS 5.2 and higher) and fully Wi-Fi certified. Contact the company directly for pricing.

SyChip, Inc.
Parkway Centre II, 2805 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 400, Plano, TX 75093; (972) 202-8900, FAX: (972) 633-0327, www.sychip.com.

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