802.11ac SoC Targets Enterprise Access Points And Wireless Cloud Networks

Feb. 23, 2012
Broadcom's BCM43460 is a single chip 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point.

Broadcom’s BCM43460 is an IEEE 802.11ac-compliant SoC that handles cellular offload and targets enterprise access points and hot spots. It uses 3x3 MIMO to hit speeds of up to 1.3 Gbits/s.

Broadcom’s BCM43460 Wi-Fi system-on-a-chip (SoC) targets enterprise access points, hot spots, and other wireless networks that need the highest possible download speeds (see the figure). With Wi-Fi in nearly every mobile device today and the trend toward increased video and other massive data downloads, high speed is essential.

The latest IEEE 802.11ac wireless local-area network (WLAN) standard meets those needs. The BCM43460, the world’s first fifth generation (5G) Wi-Fi SoC, is based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard. It’s three times faster and six times more power efficient than previous 802.11n solutions and is interoperable with legacy 802.11a/g/n technologies.

The chip’s features are optimized for the enterprise. Bandwidth-intensive content in the enterprise, such as video conferencing, cloud computing, and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, requires speeds that are compatible with centralized wired Ethernet networks.

Exponential growth is forecasted in enterprise mobile device deployment. This mobile content consumption has created a need for faster and more reliable ways to access content across devices anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, this bandwidth-intensive content requires gigabit wireless connectivity speeds. In addition, because of the gradual rollout of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, carriers are beginning to rely on Wi-Fi offload solutions to meet interim needs while relaxing the stress on existing 3G networks.

The BCM43460 boasts a dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) IEEE 802.11ac draft 3x3 compliant media-access controller (MAC)/physical layer (PHY)/radio. Its multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology doubles spectral efficiency. Also, its fully integrated dual-band radio transceiver supports 3x3 antennas for data rates up to 1.3 Gbits/s.

The chip’s embedded hardware acceleration increases system performance and significantly reduces host-CPU utilization in access point configurations. Its integrated FASTPATH UAP (Unified Access Point) software provides a complete turnkey 11ac solution.

The BCM43460 also supports enterprise-focused airtime fairness for the most efficient use of channel time in dense mixed-speed client environments. This feature enables better performance through its support for a denser environment of mixed-speed Wi-Fi devices.

The chip’s advanced spectrum analysis combines in-depth RF analysis with real-time WLAN information for real-time troubleshooting of performance problems. This feature is critical to Enterprise operators for deep monitoring of interference in the network, resulting in more reliable, consistent wireless service.

Industry standardized system support for WPA, WPA2, hardware accelerated AES encryption/decryption TKIP and IEEE 802.1X provides state-of-the-art security. The BCM43460 is now sampling with production volume slated for the second half of 2012.

Broadcom Corp.

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