Atheros Communications, Inc. today announced the industry's first 1-stream 802.11n and Bluetooth combo solution on a Half-Mini Card for the PC market. The innovative wireless design of the AR9002WB-1NGB features Atheros Align 11n 1-stream technology and Atheros ROCm Bluetooth solution for PCs. Combining the throughput of 1-stream 11n with the ease and simplicity of Bluetooth, Atheros is enabling a new class of performance and connectivity options in PCs ranging from entry-level notebooks to netbooks.
This new combination transforms the mobile computing experience to enable a wide array of simultaneous wireless applications on the same device. For example, a netbook will be able to support concurrent audio and data transfer applications such as playback on Bluetooth-enabled speakers of music from a laptop, while browsing the Internet and syncing a smartphone's contact database.
Market-Proven Align 1-stream 11n PC Technology
The AR9002WB-1NGB includes the AR9285 single-chip 1-stream 11n PCIe solution, which is shipping in tens of millions of PCs worldwide. In the third quarter of 2009, seven of the top 10 PC OEMs are shipping notebooks, netbooks and all-in-one desktops featuring Atheros Align technology. The AR9285 integrates the MAC/baseband and radio transceiver, as well as the power amplifier, low noise amplifiers and antenna switch -- the entire RF front end and complete solution. In addition, the AR9285's 8mm x 8mm QFN package provides size and cost benefits over larger, more expensive BGA packages used by competitors.
ROCm Bluetooth Technology Optimized for PCs
Atheros' new combo design features the AR3011 Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR single-chip solution -- expressly optimized for PCs. The AR3011 supports robust WLAN coexistence and simultaneous connectivity of multiple Bluetooth devices such as wireless speakers, headsets, keyboards, mice, MP3 players and smartphones. The AR9002WB-1NGB is software upgradeable to Bluetooth 3.0.
"Clearly, the primary benefits of netbooks thus far have been their ability to affordably enable anywhere-computing," said Jay Chou, analyst at IDC. "As the web and communications become more central to computing, a solution set that offers the performance of 11n Wi-Fi(TM) with the added functionality of Bluetooth -- at netbook price points -- should further enhance the mobile computing experience."
Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation
As manufacturers integrate more wireless technologies into smaller PC designs, multi-radio coexistence becomes increasingly essential to ensure a reliable wireless user experience. Atheros' new WLAN and Bluetooth combo solution goes beyond coexistence to enable cooperation between WLAN, Bluetooth and even 3G technologies co-located on diminutive netbook platforms.
To support this new level of radio coexistence between WLAN, Bluetooth and 3G, Atheros has engineered a suite of advanced wireless techniques to deliver Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation, consisting of channel protection and timesharing mechanisms, custom 3G coexistence optimization, and Atheros' proprietary WLAN/Bluetooth Coexistence Agent. This high-performance coexistence scheme benefits mobile computing with faster Web surfing and file transfers, smooth media streams and clear voice transmissions on the WLAN link, and with uninterrupted synching of wireless PC peripherals like mice and keyboards on the Bluetooth link.
Atheros has optimized its combo solution for coexistence with 3G technology utilizing protection mechanisms and RF filters. As a result, PC manufacturers can confidently employ the AR9002WB-1NGB in netbooks or notebooks to enable a uniquely cooperative environment for WLAN, Bluetooth and 3G technologies -- all on the same device.
Atheros' proprietary WLAN/Bluetooth Coexistence Agent is an advanced application module that facilitates quicker, more precise communication between the Bluetooth stack and the WLAN driver. This enhances radio collaboration to enable seamless 11n throughput with reliable Bluetooth transmissions.
In addition to implementing coexistence techniques on the client side, Atheros is leveraging its expertise in AP/router networking to support WLAN/Bluetooth cooperation on clients connected to routers employing Atheros' 11n solutions. Intelligent software features enable access points to detect the presence of Bluetooth interference on the client side and intelligently adapt their transmission rates to reduce interference between client WLAN and Bluetooth radios. This AP-based cooperation results in faster Wi-Fi transmissions and improved netbook battery life.
"Atheros is once again driving innovative connectivity solutions in the netbook segment, this time by coupling its remarkably successful Align 11n with Bluetooth technology," said Kishore Jotwani, senior director of computing for Atheros. "We are upping the game with Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation, going beyond the bounds of basic radio coexistence to provide users with an even better connectivity experience."
Highly Integrated WLAN/ Bluetooth Combo
Atheros' integration expertise has enabled a highly cost-effective Half-Mini Card embedded module design. The AR9002WB-1NGB offers design efficiencies over standalone Wi-Fi and Bluetooth solutions, utilizing fewer board components by sharing design elements such as the PCB, LED and antenna connectors. This integration results in nearly a 20 percent reduction in Rest of Bill of Materials (RBOM) costs for PC OEMs.
The AR9002WB-1NGB supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Linux operating systems.
The AR9002WB-1NGB is sampling to customers now. For more information about the 1-stream 802.11n and Bluetooth combo solution, please visit http://www.atheros.com.