Atheros launches 802.11n chips for carrier market

The latest additions to Atheros Communications' XSPAN family deliver IEEE 802.11n performance for triple-play home gateway products and offer attractive points for tthat market, which is dominated by telecom carriers.

Both the dual-band AR9220 and the single-band AR9223 are single-chip 802.11n solutions that support 2×2 MIMO technology and offer a PCI interface. Both chips use the same design. The single-band chip simply does not have the 5 GHz radio activated—or tested—and this accounts for its lower price.

The AR9220 dual-band, 2×2 MIMO, PCI design addresses multi-play gateways and set-top boxes that must handle uninterrupted throughput, including IPTV, HD video streaming, VoIP calls and multi-player online gaming. These applications are handled on 5-GHz channel while the 2.4-GHz band is used for data networking.

The AR9220 supports up to 300 Mbps physical data rates and 200 Mbps of actual user throughput on both the uplink and the downlink. This allows users to enjoy universal connectivity to any 802.11 device through their gateway or set-top box.

The AR9223 single-band, 2×2 MIMO PCI targets the basic home gateway market and delivers 300 Mbps on both the transmit and receive links. This option offers carriers an easy migration path from 11g to 11n in the 2.4GHz band, and is well-suited for applications less sensitive to bandwidth limitations and interference like web surfing, VoIP calls, audio streaming and wireless printing.

The PCI interface has been integrated for both designs to enable direct integration on the DSL motherboard and give manufacturers the ability to get to market faster. The chips also feature advanced power efficiencies and Bluetooth coexistence mechanisms.

Atheros has also implemented optimized rate adaptation algorithms that intelligently select the optimal data rates specific for each task and modifies the throughput accordingly.

Another addition specifically for the carrier market is an QoS technology for IPTV multicast that achieves smooth, uninterrupted broadcast transmissions from XSPAN-enabled gateways.

Since the carrier market places a high value on complete solutions, Atheros has developed series of partnerships with DSL, PON and cable silicon vendors including Infineon, Conexant, Ikanos, PMC Sierra, and Texas Instruments. On the software side, Atheros has partnered with Jungo, a leader in the gateway SW stack market.

Both chips support Linux and comply with industry standards WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) and Wi-Fi Protected Setup via Atheros' JumpStart for Wireless, the company's industry standardized simple network configuration software.

“Atheros' new single-chip XSPAN solutions for PCI allow carriers to deploy wireless triple-play gateways to a broader subscriber base at competitive price points,” said Mike Stauffer, director of carrier marketing and business development for Atheros. “Our new AR9220 and AR9223 chips offer the industry's best throughput, reliability and coverage to deliver content-rich multimedia networking in the digital home.”

Sampling of the AR9220 and AR9223 will begin in January 2008 and the chips will be on display at the Atheros Booth, #35349 at the 2008 International CES in Las Vegas. Individual pricing is not available but a company spokesman said the 2.4 GHz solution satisfies customer price points of less that $10 for the total electronic bill of materials (eBOM).

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