Broadcom added to its combo family of chips Dec. 8, announcing the chipmaker has integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi, FM and Bluetooth on a single silicon die. The integration allows mobile phones to support more media and data applications without impacting size or battery life.
Since most handheld devices lack the space, battery power and processing power to support 802.11n implementations with multiple antennas, Broadcom's BCM4329 uses single-stream 802.11n to transmit and receive data. According to Broadcom, its new combo chip significantly reduces a handheld's footprint and power consumption when compared to multistream solutions.
The chip provides up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) of actual wireless throughput, allowing quicker large file transfers while consuming less total power. The chip also uses space time block coding (STBC), an 802.11n feature that allows a mobile device to maintain a connection within an expanded coverage area.
"Handset manufacturers are excited about the opportunities that 802.11n brings, but they are looking for single antenna solutions that meet stringent size and power requirements," Chris Bergey, director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN line of business. "The BCM4329 is another example of how Broadcom is driving the industry towards combination solutions, not by delivering a one-size-fits-all technology, but by integrating the right mix of technologies for the right applications."
The Dec. 8 announcement is part of Broadcom's plans to introduce a new combination chip every 60 days over the coming months. In October, the company rolled out the BCM2049 chip that combines Bluetooth and FM receiver/transmitter functionality.
According to ABI Research, combo chips will account for nearly one-third of all wireless connectivity solutions shipped in 2012.