Atheros Expands 802.11n Offering

Atheros Communications, Inc. announced a flexible 802.11n WLAN solution expressly designed for high-performance wireless cable modem gateways. Atheros' new platform, coupled with the company's AR7020 Embedded WLAN Accelerator, is now delivered in combination with Texas Instruments' (TI) Puma 5 family of DOCSIS 3.0 chipsets. Together, these solutions enable a new class of cable modem gateways featuring state-of-the-art wired and wireless connectivity to reliably deliver advanced multimedia services in the home.
The platform from this joint effort between Atheros and TI's Cable business unit allows Multiple Service Operators (MSOs) and service providers to easily offer Wi-Fi connectivity on advanced cable modem gateways. With the platform, OEMs and ODMs can quickly bring to market new gateways that feature a variety of wireless performance levels while satisfying an array of price requirements. These performance options range from Atheros Align 1×1 solutions, based on the 802.11n single-stream specification, supporting up to 150 Mbps PHY rates for robust data networking, to Atheros' XSPAN MIMO-based 2×2 solutions, delivering up to 300Mbps for more advanced triple-play services.
By providing a single, common software driver which supports the AR7020 embedded WLAN accelerator in combination with any of Atheros' 802.11n-based solutions, the company is offering cable modem manufacturers enhanced flexibility and ease of design. This allows manufacturers to seamlessly transition their platform designs, thus reducing product development time, as well as the high costs related to obtaining multiple test certifications.
When ported onto any of the TI Puma 5 chipsets, Atheros' software driver uniquely leverages the Puma 5 on-chip advanced packet processing capabilities to deliver a state-of-the-art platform that meets the demanding performance and feature requirements of the cable modem gateway market. The combination of TI and Atheros software into a single, integrated stack provides ODMs and OEMs with a robust, pre-validated solution, which supplies yet another advantage in accelerating product development and time-to-market.
Atheros' AR7020 embedded WLAN accelerator features an innovative architecture integrating a 200MHz CPU and system memories, which eliminates the need for external SDRAM and flash modules. The AR7020's host offloading capability facilitates industry-leading performance by reducing the need for host processing support for WLAN operation. As a result, the host processor delivers enhanced speeds to support higher bandwidth applications, enabling MSOs to offer a richer set of value-added services to end users, such as multiple, simultaneous HD channels and higher throughput for data traffic.
The Atheros AR7020 features PCI, MII, RMII, GMII, and RGMII interfaces, which enable the embedded WLAN accelerator to connect to a variety of broadband networking devices such as the TI Puma 5. The AR7020 also employs a PCIe interface allowing for easy connection to any of Atheros' 11n-based solutions. The various interface options make it possible for manufacturers to develop wireless home gateway platforms to serve the full range of customer premise equipment (CPE) market segments.
Atheros AR7020 Embedded 11n WLAN Accelerators are sampling now.

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