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Wi-Fi, Bluetooth single die solution cuts cost

Posted: 17 Feb 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wi-Fi  Bluetooth  wireless 

Atheros Communications Inc. unveils the XSPAN AR9462 combo solution that integrates 2-stream, dual-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 technologies onto a single silicon die. With this solution Atheros aims to enable manufacturers to expand the functionality of converged devices, while improving their size, cost, and battery life.

Computers and mobile phones are converging into new devices that are used to create and consume media content, as well as stay connected to the Web and social media applications. Consumers want a consistent and flawless experience across all of their devices, which requires the same high-performance wireless technologies on a variety of platforms..

Dual-band Wi-Fi capabilities are essential for devices that are used for a mix of Internet, data, media and data offloading applications. The AR9462 offers wireless bandwidth in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and uses Atheros' Signal-Sustain Technology to boost signals across the entire Wi-Fi link. This enables consumers to maintain reliable Internet connections on the 2.4GHz band, while using wider (40MHz) transmission channels in the 5GHz band to create, consume and share digital media content—which requires more reliable bandwidth and less interference.

The AR9462 also offers the company's DirectConnect technology that enables instant peer-to-peer connections without a router or broadband access. This provides PC users with a fast and easy way to transmit HD video or synchronise files between Wi-Fi devices.

The device supports the Bluetooth 4.0 specification which adds low-energy features to one of the industry's most prolific wireless technologies. Bluetooth 4.0 enables high-speed wireless connections between legacy Bluetooth products, and operates with devices such as low-power sensors in wristwatches, home control systems and other devices that aren't traditionally "connected."

The AR9462 uses Atheros' Universal Wireless Cooperation technology to minimise interference between the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios for faster Web surfing and improved media streaming on the WLAN link, and error-free use of Bluetooth mice and keyboards and headsets—even when using both wireless radios at the same time.

The company claims the chip can reduce manufacturing costs by up to 45 per cent, compared to solutions that use separate WLAN and Bluetooth chips because the design shares components between the WLAN and Bluetooth systems, and eliminates the need for external power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), and other components.

The Atheros AR9462 supports the most popular design options for today's computing platforms, including ARM or x86 processors; PCIe interface for WLAN and USB interface for Bluetooth; Windows, Android and other Linux and emerging OS.

Atheros plans to sample the AR9462 to customers in Q1 2011. It will offer single-band and dual-band reference designs (WB222 and WB221, respectively) to provide manufacturers with additional flexibility for their next-generation designs.

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