Wireless Systems Design

WLAN Technology Leaps Generations Ahead

In the WLAN market, many companies are still working to support IEEE 802.11a. Atheros Communications, on the other hand, is onto its third generation of 802.11a and 802.11g silicon. Its seven new chip sets are supported by a single driver and firmware code base. As a result, they should enjoy both backward and forward compatibility with the company's legacy and next-generation multi-standard designs.

The new chip sets include three client and four access-point solutions. The AR5002X client boasts multi-standard 802.11a/b/g support for universal wireless connectivity to any 802.11 network. It also flaunts high performance and is backward compatible. The AR5002G client targets the final-version 8.2 draft of the 802.11g standard. It should provide a value-priced upgrade path for legacy 802.11b networks. For video and audio applications, the AR5002A client features reliable quality of service and high-performance 802.11a throughput.

Turning to the access points, the AR5002AP-2X offers dual-band concurrent support for 802.11a/b/g clients. It boasts enterprise-class security and performance. The AR5002AP-X features multi-standard support for small-office and medium-enterprise customers. Primarily, these customers want to use 2.4-GHz technology with an interest in upgrading to 5-GHz support. Value-priced, data-centric access points and home gateways will be satisfied by the AR5002AP-G. It flaunts single-band 802.11b/g support. Finally, the AR5002AP-A access point plans to provide multipurpose media-center support, satisfying the 5-GHz 802.11a demands of consumer-oriented electronic products.

With these chip sets, the company has reduced the bill of materials over both its previous generations and its competitors' chips. It also has made numerous improvements in performance and range while reducing power consumption. The solutions are scalable to any number of users and are fully compatible with legacy equipment. In addition, the chip sets implement Atheros' "Super G" and "Super A/G" capabilities to deliver up to 90-Mbps TCP/IP throughput for 802.11a/g and 802.11g wireless LANs.

These multi-mode chip sets support all of today's WLAN standards as well as the draft 802.11h standard. This standard addresses the requirements of the European regulatory bodies. Specifically, it avoids interference problems with Hiperlan. The chip sets also cover all worldwide wireless-networking spectrum. They even support the provisions of the Jumpstart Broadband Act introduced in the U.S. Senate. For security provisions, the chip sets support both the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and the government-grade Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) specified by the WPA standard. The products are all shipping in volume. Contact the company for pricing information.

Atheros Communications, Inc.
529 Almanor Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085-3512; (408) 773-5200, FAX: (408) 773-9940, www.atheros.com.

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