Sunday, January 28, 2007

Atheros Introduces Bluetooth 2.1 Chip for PCs

Atheros Communications, a leading supplier of 802.11a/g, 802.11g, and 802.11n WLAN chipsets, introduced its first Bluetooth chip for laptops and desktops, enabling WLAN co-existence and simultaneous usage of multiple Bluetooth-based devices like mice, keyboards, voice and stereo headsets and mobile phones. The company said it foresees rapid adoption of Bluetooth alongside WiFi as the cost to implement the technology declines and the number of peripherals multiplies.

The Atheros AR3011, which is the first member of the company's new "ROCm", Radio-on-Chip for Mobile, family of Bluetooth solutions, supports the new Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR specification. Bluetooth 2.1 introduces a number of enhancement to short-range wireless communications, including:

  • Secure Simple Pairing -- improves ease of pairing of Bluetooth devices while implementing strong security;

  • Encryption Pause and Resume -- increases security in the link by ensuring that no user data is transmitted without encryption and enables periodic update of the keys;

  • Extended Inquiry Response -- provides better filtering of devices before connection;

  • Sniff Subrating -- reduces power consumption when devices are in the sniff, low-power mode, increasing battery-life.

The AR3011 features a USB 2.0 device interface, dual 1.2V voltage regulators, integrated 32-bit CPU, and integrated RAM. The device is implemented in standard digital CMOS using 0.13 micron in a miniature, low-cost 6x6 mm QFN package. Atheros eliminated the need for external Flash by integrating SRAM. To reduce the number of external RF components, Atheros designed the AR3011 radio to eliminate the need for Balun and matching network. The AR3011 also offers 2- , 3- and 4-wire TDM co-existence support to provide optimal co-existence with a co-located WLAN solution. Availability is set for this quarter.


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