A new multimode wireless local area networking (WLAN) solution supporting IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b and the 802.11g draft standard, including support for enhanced security and Quality of Service (QoS) from Texas Instrument Incorporated (TI), will enable high-performance 54Mbps operation in the 2.4 and 5.2 GHz bands. Through TI's Auto-Band(tm) technology, the new processor and accompanying system reference designs will also deliver seamless interoperability between the three different 802.11 physical layers. This enables end-users to roam with a continuous connection from an 802.11b network to 802.11a network, and eventually 802.11g, without having to manually adjust any of their network settings.
TI's TNETW1130 is a single-chip Media Access Controller (MAC) and baseband processor that addresses the WLAN market's pending upgrade to 54Mbps in the 2.4 and 5.2 GHz bands. TI's Auto-Band solution leverages the expertise TI gained in multimode WLAN environments with PBCC and CCK. Using Auto-Band technology, TNETW1130-based access points (APs) can simultaneously operate, and stations can automatically switch between the different transmission modes and frequency bands, seamlessly supporting 802.11b, 802.11b+, 802.11g and 802.11a. The TNETW1130 will enable TI customers to offer the first true multimode products.
"With Auto-Band technology and the TNETW1130, TI is delivering the complete multimode 802.11 experience by enabling connectivity to any WLAN with enhanced security and quality of service," said Allen Nogee, Sr. Analyst, In-Stat/MDR.
For the industry's strongest 802.11 security, the TNETW1130 supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) plus legacy support for WEP (Wired Equivalency Protocol). It will also be one of the first processors to fulfill the requirements of the 802.11i draft standard with hardware accelerators for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and the mandatory and optional implementations of AES. For certain enterprise applications, the TNETW1130 also supports other security enhancements for an additional level of WLAN security.
The TNETW1130 has a QoS engine for support of EDCF (enhanced distributed coordination function) and HCF (hybrid coordination function) as specified in the 802.11e draft standard, facilitating quality-sensitive applications such as voice over WLAN. Additionally, the TNETW1130 is based on a flexible, firmware-upgradeable platform to ensure that TI's customers will be able to comply with possible changes in the 802.11g, 802.11i, 802.11e draft standards and others, as eventually ratified.
"This year we have delivered innovation and higher-performance to the 802.11b market while enabling the market to meet the pricing levels required for mass consumer adoption," said Marc Cetto, general manager of TI's Wireless Networking Business Unit. "Next year we will enable the same growth and performance in the multimode 802.11 market with the TNETW1130."
The TNETW1130 offers higher throughput at longer distances for 802.11b, 802.11b+ (22Mbps), 802.11g and 802.11a networks leveraging TI's superior multi-path and receiver technology from its previous 802.11 processors. It also employs TI's unique enhanced low power (ELP) technology for energy-saving standby modes for longer lasting batteries and greater power efficiency for mobile WLAN applications such as PDAs and smartphones.
To enable a broad line of products based on the processor, the TNETW1130 supports a variety of on-chip interfaces including PCMCIA, Cardbus, PCI, mini-PCI, USB, Compact Flash and generic 16-bit slave.
Complete System-level Designs
Reference designs based on the TNETW1130 come in multiple modes and form factors to meet the needs of different markets including 802.11g PC Cards and APs for home/SOHO networking kits, 802.11a/g PC Cards for enterprise applications, and 802.11a/g mini-PCI cards for PC OEMs. The processor offers a flexible hardware architecture with single or multimode configurations allowing ODMs and OEMs to easily reuse the hardware development across their entire 802.11 product portfolio. Equally important, customers can leverage TI's universal software architecture which allows software reuse between platforms. This will enable current TI customers to accelerate their software development when switching to TNETW1130-based designs.
The TNETW1130 offers a complete system-level solution with hardware and software deliverables that have been key to our customers' success in the WLAN market. These designs provide high performance, fast time to market and mature product offerings, among them:
-Complete hardware designs that are FCC, CE and TELEC ready
-Complete Windows software packages that are WHQL and Wi-Fi ready
-Complete AP platform with TI's broadband communications processor
-Complete manufacturing and configuration tools
Pricing and Availability
The TNETW1130-based reference designs are scheduled to sample in December 2002 for initial development by customers. Customers' TNETW1130-based end-products are expected to be available in April 2003. In order to begin planning for project development now, TI has established initial total Bill of Material (BOM) costs for customers adopting the TNETW1130 to be sub-$23 for 802.11g Cardbus and sub-$28 for 802.11a/g Cardbus, in volume quantities, in second quarter of 2003.