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Marvell tames 802.11b power, security

Posted: 21 Aug 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:marvell technology? 88w8000? rf transceiver? 88w8300? baseband processor?

Marvell Technology is seeking answers to problems plaguing 802.11b WLAN system designs.

Marvell has released two chipsets - one for access points, one for clients - that aim at reducing power consumption, increasing security and mitigating interference in these WLANs.

Marvell's client solution combines the 88W8000 RF transceiver, housing an on-board power amplifier, with the 88W8300 baseband/MAC.

The access point solution pairs the same 88W8000 transceiver with the 88W8500, which houses a 10/100 Ethernet MAC/PHY block for linking access points into broadband modems and corporate LANs.

"The transceiver's on-board power amplifier is a big contributor to power savings in both architectures, the company said. Its smart power-management capability lets designers adjust power amp performance "on the fly," said product-marketing manager James Chen.

The amplifier delivers an output-power range of 0dBm to 20dBm, adjustable in 1dB steps - a feature that matches up with the transient-power-control capabilities being discussed at IEEE, Chen said.

To combat problems like multipath fading, Marvell extended the chipsets' receiver sensitivity down to -88dBm without using external components such as low-noise amplifiers.

The closest competitor, Chen said, is in the -85dBm range. It also built a clear-channel assessment (CCA) capability into the 88W8300 and 8500 baseband processors, through which the Marvell radios determine whether there is interference on a channel and, by user programming, how to operate in those conditions.

"Right now it's a go-or-no situation for WLAN designers," Chen said. Through the CCA implementation, designers can, for example, have the radio increase the transceiver transmit power to make sure it blasts through, say, a Bluetooth signal on the channel.

Marvell has also built AES encryption capabilities into its access point and client chipsets, using hardware acceleration.

On the client side, the company said it will deliver a MiniPCI, CompactFlash, and PC card reference platform. For the access point, Marvell will offer AP-21, a low-cost design with one Ethernet port and TCP/IP, DHCP, SNMP, and 802.1x support; and AP-22, a home gateway solution that provides one WAN, one 802.11b and four LAN ports.

Both chipsets are sampling. The client version sells for $16 and the access point set for $21.

- Robert Keenan

EE Times

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