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Atheros takes ARM license for next-gen WLAN chips

Posted: 09 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wlan atheros communications? arm926ej-s? 946e-s? processor cores? networking device?

ARM Ltd has extended its reach in the WLAN chip market with the addition of Atheros Communications Inc. as a licensee for its ARM926EJ-S and 946E-S processor cores.

Conexant is already using ARM cores in some of the Wi-Fi chips originally developed by Intersil. Envara, recently acquired by Intel Corp., also has a license to use the processors in its devices.

Mike Inglis, ARM's European vice president for marketing, said another major player in the wireless LAN chip business is also using the core but he declined to identify it.

"We are delighted to have such a forward looking company in the sector as Atheros using our processor cores," said Inglis.

He would not comment on which 802.11 Atheros chip would first integrate the ARM core.

Colin Macnab, vice president of marketing and business development at Atheros, said in a statement: "ARM microprocessor cores offer us a strong and highly competitive road map to enable Atheros to maintain our market-leading position."

The ARM946E-S microprocessor core's memory system makes it possible to tailor hardware and embedded application to improve the overall efficiency of a chip set. The Jazelle-enabled ARM926EJ-S microprocessor core also accelerates the speed of Java applications. Inglis told ARM is seeking new opportunities in the wireless networking sector to augment its leadership in processor cores for mobile handsets.

Marvell Semiconductor Inc. recently became an ARM architectural licensee, and Inglis said it would use only custom versions of ARM's 32-bit processors in various networking devices as part of a broad licensing agreement.

CSR is also expected to use ARM processor cores in networking chips under development that will augment the company's Bluetooth parts.

"We are offering OEMs in this sector a commitment to help meet the increasing need for reduced cost and size, and power-efficient products," said Inglis.

- John Walko

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