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Atheros releases second-generation PCIe GbE chips

Posted: 14 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Gigabit Ethernet? GbE controller? home networking?

Atheros Communications Inc. has expanded its ETHOS product line with its second-generation GbE controller, the AR8121, and its first 6-port GbE switch, the AR8316.

The Atheros AR8121 is a small, highly integrated PCIe gigabit controller designed to meet the size, performance and cost requirements of the consumer laptop and desktop PC market.

Atheros' second-generation GbE controller is available in a 48-pin QFN package, measuring 36mm?. The AR8121 achieves power savings through efficiencies derived from its miniature size combined with several advanced modes to enhance its low power consumption.

For example, a laptop consumes less than 700mW in GbE operation. AR8121 features a deep sleep mode which consumes only 20mW when the network cable is disconnected, saving battery power in laptops. The power savings offered by the AR8121 enables PC OEMs and ODMs to meet and exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star 4.0 specification, among the industry's most stringent power requirements. The Atheros AR8316 6-port GbE switch is aimed home networking and SMB equipment manufacturers. The device's low-power, integrated PHY consumes less than 3W, enabling the AR8316 to use a lower-cost 176-pin LQFP package. The design also features advanced power-saving mechanisms, which dynamically adjust power based on port usage.

The AR8316 features five integrated GbE PHYs. The AR8316 supports an advanced QoS architecture, which prioritizes switch traffic for different classes of applications, such as voice traffic for IP phones, video traffic for multimedia and data traffic for e-mail. The AR8316 also supports carrier-class features such as ingress/egress rate limiting, as well as IPv4 IGMP and IPv6 MLD snooping to significantly improve the performance of streaming media and other bandwidth-intensive IP multicast applications. In addition, virtual LANs are supported for separation of multiple users or groups on the network.

Both devices are sampling. Volume production is slated in Q1 08.

- Ismini Scouras

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