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Atheros announces new low-power Wi-Fi solution
Posted: 30-Oct-2007 [Source: Atheros]

[New Atheros ROCm single-chip consumes 70 percent less power than competitive mobile WLAN solutions.]

Santa Clara, CA -- Atheros Communications, Inc., a leading developer of advanced wireless solutions, today announced the Atheros ROCm(TM) single-chip AR6002 family which features breakthrough low-power for mobile WLAN solutions. The game-changing power efficiency delivered by the AR6002 draws near-zero standby power and has nominal impact on battery life even in active mode, both key considerations in the design of Wi-Fi-enabled mobile products. With its exceptionally low-power designs for mobile and Atheros' leading performance in Wi-Fi throughput and connection reliability, the company intends to catalyze the adoption of Wi-Fi in the handheld and mobile device markets.

Based on consistently repeated, actual power demonstration measurements, the Atheros AR6002 consumes 70 percent less power than competitive solutions on the market in active mode while downloading content. This substantial power reduction results in longer battery life, enabling significantly more downloads and longer talk time between mobile device charges. For example, the AR6002 solution will take more than 100 hours to deplete a standard 3.7V, 800mAh phone battery in continual VoIP mode. In another application using the AR6002, 200 gigabytes of data can be downloaded before depleting the same battery.

In addition, the AR6002 significantly extends battery life by drawing virtually zero power in standby, relieving users from having to switch the Wi-Fi function on and off. As a result of its substantial power advances, Atheros' newest ROCm Wi-Fi family generates near-zero battery impact in power-sensitive mobile devices.

This performance achievement effectively eliminates the power consumption challenge facing mobile designers when determining whether to include Wi-Fi in devices like smartphones, personal media players, digital still cameras, gaming and other portable consumer devices.

"Atheros has broken the power barrier for mobile WLAN," said Sam Endy, vice president and general manager of the mobile wireless business unit for Atheros. "No other solutions on the market today can touch this new power standard for mobile Wi-Fi. We have architected our new ROCm WLAN family to eliminate the biggest challenge previously associated with integrating Wi-Fi into mobile devices."

Atheros' expert design of the AR6002 minimizes power consumption through a combination of advanced hardware and software power-saving protocols and techniques. In addition, the AR6002 extends battery-life with its industry-leading throughput which reduces the amount of time the WLAN chip must be in active mode.

"I've seen Atheros' new mobile Wi-Fi technology in action and was impressed by its extraordinarily low power consumption," said Will Strauss, president and principal analyst of Forward Concepts. "With its near-zero impact on battery life, the AR6002 should transform Wi-Fi from an optional to a must-have feature across mobile devices."

"The near-zero power utilization of Atheros' AR6002 is impressive," said Joe Tate, HP vice president of operations and engineering, Handheld Global Business Unit. "The AR6002 provides a multitude of opportunities to deliver a richer mobile user experience with Wi-Fi."

Easy Design Implementation

The AR6002 family provides mobile designers with complete, turnkey, market-proven mobile Wi-Fi solutions, enabling ease-of-design and fast time-to-market. Implementation with the AR6002 solutions is enhanced with mature, pre-qualified ROCm software features augmented through collaborations with Microsoft, Qualcomm and other industry leaders.

Atheros' ROCm family features:

-- Pre-installed WLAN driver support for the Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 operating system;

-- The world's most integrated dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi reference platforms through its relationship with Qualcomm, enabling new-generation smartphones.

These engagements provide added support to mobile designers, facilitating rapid design of mobile products featuring high-performance Atheros Wi-Fi.

This new series of Atheros mobile Wi-Fi solutions is software-compatible with the first-generation, AR6001 ROCm platform which has been designed into numerous leading mobile Wi-Fi products. These include the Eye-Fi wireless memory card, the Fujitsu Siemens Computers Pocket LOOX T830 smartphone, the NEC FOMA /WLAN dual-mode cellular/VoIP handset, N902iL for NTT DoCoMo, digital cameras including the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1 and other, yet to be announced products.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Coexistence

The AR6002 is optimized and validated for coexistence with any certified Bluetooth on the market. In addition to implementing industry standard, 2-, 3-, and 4-wire protocols for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth coexistence in mobile devices, Atheros has developed advanced algorithms employed in the AR6002 that adjust the WLAN communication behavior when in the presence of Bluetooth devices.

Additional Features

The AR6002 family offers full-speed, hardware-based, security with the WPA(TM), WPA2(TM) and 802.11i standards and supports the industry-standardized Wi-Fi Protected Set-Up(TM) with Atheros JumpStart for Wireless(TM). The solutions also offer a rich feature set to support voice and video through polled QoS extensions (802.11e and WMM). The AR6002 provides full driver support for Windows Embedded CE, Windows Mobile, and Linux-based solutions.

Configuration Options

Atheros' AR6002 single-chip solution is available in single (2.4GHz) and dual-band (2.4/5GHz) options in CSP or BGA packages to satisfy a wide array of application design requirements. The AR6002 features substantial RBOM integration onto the chip with integrated power amplifier (PA), low noise amplifier (LNA) and RF switch in a leading total solution footprint of less than 50mm2.

-- AR6002G: 11g 2.4GHz single-band solution in a BGA package

-- AR6002GZ: 11g 2.4GHz single-band solution in a CSP package

-- AR6002X: 11a/g 2.4/5GHz dual-band solution in a BGA package

-- AR6002XZ: 11a/g 2.4/5GHz dual-band solution in a CSP package

Product Availability

Atheros' AR6002 second-generation ROCm solutions are currently sampling and will be in volume production in the first quarter of 2008.


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