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Broadcom readies single chip 802.11n device

LONDON — Broadcom Corporation has started sampling a single chip 802.11n compliant device that is being made in a 65-nm CMOS process and integrates the power amplifier on chip.

The company said at the Global Wi-Fi Summit in Beijing, China that kicks off Wednesday (Sept. 26) that the tightly integrated device — dubbed the BCM4322 — is also the first to enable Wi-Fi products that can operate at over 200Mbit/s second of actual wireless throughput.

“The chip will be in volume production during the first quarter of 2008 and we anticipate products using it, mainly PC cards in small form factors and plug in cards for routers, will be on the market soon after,” Gordon Lindsay, European product manager for wireless devices at Broadcom, told EE Times Europe .

Lindsay added the level of integration achieved, notably by incorporating the PA on the single silicon die, can lead to a Bill of Materials (BOM) reduction of 40 percent to existing multi-chip solutions. The maximum power drain for the part is put at only 1.6W, about half that on existing parts.

Lindsay stressed the part is fully compliant with the draft 802.11n 2.0 specification that, he anticipates, will finally get approved early next year.

He suggested the small footprint would also make the part suitable for a wide range of consumer electronics devices that have to date not included WLAN functionality, such as televisions, set-top boxes and camcorders, making it possible to move video and audio content throughout homes and offices.

Broadcom suggests the BCM4322 is the only 802.11n solution to date to combine an 802.11 medium access controller (MAC), a baseband processor, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, multi-band power amplifiers and other WLAN components on to a single silicon die.

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