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Broadcom faces skepticism over early launch

Posted: 24 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Loring Wirbel? BCM4321? Broadcom? Intensi-fi 802.11n? chipset?

Broadcom Corp. encountered skepticism from financial analysts late last week (Jan. 20) when it announced sampling of an Intensi-fi 802.11n chipsetless than 24 hours after the IEEE announced a compromise draft proposal.

Michael Hurlston, VP and GM of Broadcom's home and wireless networking business unit, said sampling the product was no more aggressive than for Intensi-fi products targeting the 802.11g market. But two analysts countered that the earlier chips were offered between an IEEE ballot and a final standard, rather than before the issuance of letter ballots for a vote on a new spec.

"We expect any tweaks to the standard to be minor, and we will be able to handle them in software rather than silicon," Hurlston predicted.

Broadcom will offer a combined medium access control and physical-layer chip for the 300Mbps 802.11n, dubbed BCM4321, and a companion radio chip supporting 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies using multiple-input, multiple-output antennas, the BCM2055.

For router applications, Broadcom will specify two different network processors, the BCM4704 for 10/100 Ethernet applications, and the BCM4705 for Gigabit Ethernet applications.

Hurlston predicted that the volume price for client systems, using MAC/PHY and RF chips, will be in the mid-$20 range for a two-chipset, while a router chipset integrating a lower-speed network processor, will be "in the low 30s, including network processor."

He said actual client speeds for 802.11n networks will exceed 150Mbps, which is why Broadcom offered an NPU option supporting a Gigabit Ethernet interface.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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