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Atheros hits home with WLAN chipset

Posted: 26 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:atheros communications? wlan chipset? ar5005va?

Atheros Communications has extended its WLAN chipset for high-definition TV and other multimedia distribution throughout the home.

To date, Atheros has focused on laptop computers and other computing platforms. "Our thrust for this year is consumer electronics, including voice over IP [Internet Protocol], TV, gaming, gateways," said Michael Stauffer, director of business development at Atheros.

The company is raising the chipset's data rate "to a guaranteed 30Mbps in 2004 for whole-home coverage for a single HDTV channel - rising to 100+ Mbps in 2005/2006 for multiple HDTV channels," said Stauffer.

To meet throughput requirements Atheros incorporated a number of features into its new AR5005VA chipset. Among the features are dual-channel beam forming on a frame-by-frame basis on the transmit side and maximal ratio combining (MRC) on the receive side for up to four antennas.

"We worked on MIMO [multiple input, multiple output] technologies first, but then switched [to MRC and beam forming] as we wanted to get to market quickly," said Stauffer.

To achieve the beamforming, the company took its previous-generation platform and added another orthogonal frequency division multiplex baseband processor on the transmit side. For the MRC it added extra processing to combine the signals from each antenna. The features work with legacy WLAN devices and have a benefit even if only one side of the link is so enabled.

Other features on the 802.11a/b/g-compliant chips, said Stauffer, include support for IEEE 802.11e-based quality of service, advanced synchronization to reduce jitter, numerous transport-stream interfaces, an on-board DMA controller and support for the Digital Living Networking Alliance's (DLNA) guidelines, including MPEG encapsulation into other protocols and encryption for digital rights management (DRM).

The AR5005VA chipset is available in both two- and four-antenna configurations. The four-antenna configuration is sampling now with full production expected in fall. It costs under $20 in 10,000-unit quantities.

- Patrick Mannion

EE Times

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