Sunday, August 27, 2006

Atheros Adds Network Processor and Debuts 802.11n Chipset with 2x2 MIMO

Atheros Communications launched its first family of network processors, the AR7100, targeting triple-play wireless APs and routers. Key features of the Atheros network processors include a high-performance MIPS-based processor core; a 33/66 MHz PCI interface; dual Ethernet ports for LAN and WAN connectivity; a high- speed 32-bit DDR memory controller to support high-bandwidth applications; and on-chip cache memory. The NPUs also offer dual USB 2.0 interfaces for wireless network storage and printing; a PCM interface to support analog and VoIP telephony; and an I(2)S interface to support audio streaming through the router.

Two NPU processor models are initially offered: 300MHz with dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, and 400MHz with dual 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet ports.

Atheros also introduced a high-performance, cost-optimized draft 802.11n chipset (AR5008V) featuring a 2x2 MIMO design. The 2x2 solution, based on Atheros' XSPAN technology, achieves cost savings through silicon and other bill of materials cost reductions. It provides PCI and PCIe host interface support for integrating the chipset into laptops, routers and APs.

The chipset provides up to 300 Mbps physical data rates. Atheros said the technology delivers 10 times the range of legacy 802.11g and a/g solutions.

As with the entire Atheros XSPAN family, the new AR5008V supports all the mandatory technical elements in the Draft 1.0 802.11n specification to ensure interoperability with both legacy devices and draft 802.11n products that adhere to the specification.

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