Electronic Design
Dual-Band 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi Chip Gives Consumer Electronics Greater Connectivity

Dual-Band 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi Chip Gives Consumer Electronics Greater Connectivity

The Atheros Communications AR9374 Wi-Fi chip brings better connectivity between HDTVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, digital media adapters, home-network devices, game consoles, and other consumer electronics. It addresses the crowding problem of Wi-Fi devices in the 2.4-GHz band. Now, the 5-GHz band can be leveraged with more interference-free bandwidth and less latency for an extra-trustworthy connectivity.

The AR9374 supports 40-MHz bandwidth transmissions to provide high data rates without the limitations of range and costs associated with previous Wi-Fi standards. The dual-band 802.11n multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) device features integrated power amplifiers (PAs) and low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) as well. It also delivers dual-stream capability for the same cost of previous single-stream solutions, reducing costs while boosting performance.

The chip integrates a powerful CPU and on-chip memory to offload all wireless local-area network (WLAN) functions from the host processor, making it easier for manufacturers to utilize Wi-Fi in connected TV designs. It achieves full host offload without the use of external memory, resulting in what appears to be the lowest total solution cost currently available.

As for throughput, the AR9374 delivers up to 170 Mbits/s of actual wireless data (300-Mbit/s data rate) and 11n options including transmit beam forming, low-density parity check (LDPC), space-time block code (STBC), mobile router and control (MRC), and maximum likelihood (ML) receiver.

The AR9374 incorporates advanced Atheros algorithms to ensure reliable delivery of video and audio streams. An efficient sleep mode and a wake-on-wireless mode reduce system power consumption. And according to the company, the chip is the first in the industry to support both SDIO and USB HSIC.

The several reference designs using the AR9374 include the UB134 (see the figure) and the AR9374 combined with the AR7400 powerline communications (PLC) chip to implement the Atheros Hybrid Networking system, known as Hy-Fi.

Atheros Communications

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