Atheros Communications, the market share leader in multi-standard wireless LAN (WLAN) technology, today introduced seven new chipsets that cover the gamut of WLAN applications. These chipsets support multiple WLAN standards with optimizations for different market segments and price points. A single driver and firmware code base supports all the chipsets, providing both backward and forward compatibility with Atheros' legacy and next-generation multi-standard designs. The new chipsets feature third-generation wireless technology that boosts throughput and range, while decreasing power consumption and cost.
"Atheros is supporting all the standards, covering all the international tuning ranges, setting new benchmarks for performance and range, and making WLANs both foolproof and future proof," said Allen Nogee, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. "Their broad range of design wins and steady stream of new products are testaments to Atheros' power in wireless LANs. We expect Atheros to maintain a position of prominence as the market for multi-mode solutions develops."
"We are announcing availability of our third-generation 802.11a/b/g and 802.11b/g silicon, while competitors still struggle to launch their first-generation products with 802.11a support," said Craig Barratt, president and chief executive officer of Atheros. "Meanwhile, our 802.11g products are dominating benchmarks by the PC OEMs, enterprise and retail vendors, and the industry press. System developers have fielded nearly 200 products based on our chipsets, and both system developers and end users will find more of what they like in our third-generation chips."
Seven new chipsets available now in volume
The new chipsets introduced today include three client solutions and four access point solutions:
-AR5002X client -- Multi-standard 802.11a/b/g support for universal wireless connectivity to any 802.11 network; high performance and future-proofing with backward compatibility
-AR5002G client -- Support for the final version 8.2 draft of the 802.11g standard; a value-priced upgrade path for legacy 802.11b networks
-AR5002A client -- Reliable quality of service (QoS) and high-performance 5-GHz (802.11a) throughput required for video, audio and voice applications
-AR5002AP-2X access point -- Dual-band concurrent support for 802.11a/b/g clients, with enterprise-class security and performance
-AR5002AP-X access point -- Multi-standard support for small-office and medium-enterprise customers who primarily want to use 2.4-GHz technology with an interest in upgrading to 5-GHz support
-AR5002AP-G access point -- Single-band 802.11b/g support for value-priced, data-centric access points and home gateways
-AR5002AP-A access point -- Multi-purpose media-center support for the 5-GHz 802.11a demands of consumer electronics products
These chipsets are the most highly integrated WLAN products available today. They include all of the functionality needed to implement a client subsystem or a complete access point or gateway. Atheros has reduced the bill of materials over the company's previous generations of highly integrated chipsets as well as over competitors' chips.
The third-generation chipsets are shipping with support for draft 8.2 of the 802.11g specification -- the final 802.11g draft version. Atheros is first to market with an implementation of this final version.
Raising the bar for wireless networking
The third-generation technology in the new chipsets provides numerous improvements in performance and range, while reducing power consumption compared to competing products. The new chipsets also implement Atheros Super G and Super A/G capabilities to deliver up to 90 Mbps TCP/IP throughput for 802.11a/g and 802.11g wireless LANs.
Atheros' performance enhancements provide more than 10 times the actual throughput of other wireless LAN solutions, are scalable to any number of users and are fully compatible with legacy equipment. Other solutions that offer special turbo or bursting modes are only effective under limited network conditions and adversely affect users of 802.11b or third-party 802.11g products.
Universal connectivity and security
Universal wireless connectivity means that users can establish a wireless connection no matter which WLAN standard they are using (IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11g) and no matter what country they are in. Atheros third-generation multi-mode chipsets support all of today's WLAN standards, as well as the draft 802.11h standard, and cover all worldwide wireless networking spectrum. The chipsets also support the provisions of the Jumpstart Broadband Act recently introduced in the U.S. Senate. The resulting universal wireless connectivity allows WLAN users to roam across continents and within mixed networking environments, because the chipsets automatically self-configure for different wireless and security standards.
A key feature of all the Atheros third-generation chipsets is security without compromise. These chipsets uniquely support both the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and the government-grade Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) specified by the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standard with no performance reduction. Competitors' solutions suffer a 20-50 percent performance reduction when WPA or AES is enabled.