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Highly integrated IP platform enables cost-effective Wi-Fi phones

Posted: 21 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Atheros? AR6101? wireless IP platform?

Atheros Communications Inc. recently introduced the new AR6101, touted to be the world's most integrated and highly optimized wireless Internet Protocol (IP) platform. The company said this new platform from its Radio-on-Chip for Mobile (ROCm) family of embedded solutions implements the most cost-effective and compact Wi-Fi phones on the market.

The Atheros AR6101G for 802.11g and the AR6101X for 802.11a/g single-chip solutions are the first designs offered in this family. With this latest platform, Atheros is again integrating multiple complex functions onto a single chip: computing, DSP, memory, power management, keypad, audio and display interfaces, in addition to mixed-signal and RF.

This new ROCm wireless IP platform offers a complete solution, including the user interface, in an energy- and memory-efficient package. With the highest level of systems integration, the AR6101 total component count is reduced by approximately 50 percent versus competitive designs, dramatically lowering the total bill-of-materials.

Atheros' wireless IP platform initially offers a streamlined voice capability. With this first implementation, consumers will be able to make free or low-cost calls using any available WLAN. The scalable AR6101 platform supports Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for Internet conferencing, telephony, presence and events notification, and instant messaging. XMPP is an open-source, XML- based protocol that has become the industry standard for instant messaging platforms and presence technology used worldwide.

Atheros said it is providing an efficient chip and software implementation to the broadband wireless IP connection, enabling customer designs to deliver the fullness of the Internet in an attractive form factor. These designs will result in new Wi-Fi-enabled phones that allow users to un-tether from their office networks or home broadband connections, and use the phones on any open WLAN. Fulfilling the IP promise, each handset is an actual node on the Internet with its own unique Web address.

"Wireless IP has become ubiquitous through the rapid growth of wireless networking infrastructure that goes well beyond the home into metro Wi-Fi, enterprise, campus, and hotspot deployments worldwide," said Craig Barratt, president and CEO of Atheros. "With Atheros' new ROCm wireless IP platform, we're bringing rich, IP-based applications including voice and messaging that are now accessed from the desktop into the palm of your hand."

The AR6101 features a low-power RISC CPU core, full 802.11a/b/g functionality, and the integration of all major handset functions. Atheros also delivers a full suite of handset software applications and a complete application development environment. In addition, the AR6101 supports advanced features such as Quality of Service (802.11e and WMM), energy savings (WMM-APSD), and ease-of-use (with the forthcoming Wi-Fi Alliance configuration standard).

Atheros is currently sampling the AR6101.

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