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802.11n chips rolls for carrier market

Posted: 20 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:carrier market? PCI interface? home gateway? 802.11n chip?

Atheros Communications unveiled the latest additions to its XSPAN family that deliver IEEE 802.11n performance for triple-play home gateway products and offer attractive points for that market, which is dominated by telecom carriers.

Both the dual-band AR9220 and the single-band AR9223 are single-chip 802.11n solutions that support 2x2 MIMO technology and offer a PCI interface. While both chips use the same design, the single-band chip does not have the 5GHz radio activated, or tested, which accounts for its lower price.

The AR9220 dual-band, 2x2 MIMO, PCI design addresses multiplay gateways and set-top boxes that must handle uninterrupted throughput, including IPTV, HD video streaming, VoIP calls and multi-player online gaming. These applications are handled on 5GHz channel while the 2.4GHz band is used for data networking.

The AR9220 supports up to 300Mbit/s physical data rates and 200Mbit/s of actual user throughput on both the uplink and the downlink. This allows users to enjoy universal connectivity to any 802.11 device through their gateway or STB.

Meanwhile, the AR9223 single-band, 2x2 MIMO PCI targets the basic home gateway market and delivers 300Mbit/s on both transmit and receive links. This option offers carriers an easy migration path from 11g to 11n in the 2.4GHz band, and is suited for applications less sensitive to bandwidth limitations and interference like web surfing, VoIP calls, audio streaming and wireless printing.

In addition, the PCI interface has been integrated for both designs to enable direct integration on the DSL motherboard and give manufacturers the ability to get to market faster. The chips also feature advanced power efficiencies and Bluetooth coexistence mechanisms.

Atheros has also implemented optimized rate adaptation algorithms that intelligently select the optimal data rates specific for each task and modifies the throughput accordingly. Another addition specifically for the carrier market is a QoS technology for IPTV multicast that achieves smooth, uninterrupted broadcast transmissions from XSPAN-enabled gateways.

Since the carrier market places a high value on complete solutions, Atheros has developed series of partnerships with DSL, PON and cable silicon vendors including Infineon, Conexant, Ikanos, PMC Sierra, and Texas Instruments. On the software side, Atheros has partnered with Jungo, a leader in the gateway SW stack market.

Both chips support Linux and comply with industry standards Wi-Fi Multimedia and Wi-Fi Protected Setup via Atheros' JumpStart for Wireless, the company's industry standardized simple network configuration software.

Sampling of the AR9220 and AR9223 will begin in January 2008. The chips will be on display at the Atheros Booth, #35349 at the 2008 International CES in Las Vegas. Individual pricing is not available but a company spokesman said the 2.4GHz solution satisfies customer price points of less that $10 for the total electronic BOM.

- Jack Shandle
Wireless Net DesignLine

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