Analyst firm The Linley Group has awarded the title of best wireless LAN chipset to products from Atheros Corp. and Marvell Technology Group Ltd., the firm announced Tuesday.
The firm said that the 802.11b/g Libertas chip from Marvell "offers excellent integration, range, and battery life", and touted the Atheros 802.11a/b/g AR5004X chipset from Atheros as the best dual-band design, with the fastest turbo mode and "competitive" battery life.
The plaudits were based on technical analysis of the chipsets, the firm said, not real-world measurements.
"Our report covers more than 40 companies that currently offer or are developing some type of 802.11 chip set. In spite of intense competition, our conclusion was that these two stood out in their respective categories," said Bob Wheeler, a senior analyst for The Linley Group, in a statement. "Both Atheros and Marvell offer all-CMOS chip sets with highly integrated dual-conversion radios, balancing cost with performance."
The Marvell Libertas chip ships as part of Netgears line of wireless routers, including the WGR614 cable/DSL wireless router.
The Atheros AR5004X, meanwhile, includes the chip makers eXtended Range (XR) technology, which includes the sensitivity of the baseband component and allows theoretical transmission ranges of about a kilometer.
On Tuesday, Atheros introduced the AR5005VA, the first of a family of products to feature Atheros VLocity technology. VLocity is a family of ultra-high performance wireless technologies, which encompass multiple-radio/smart-antenna, multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO), and other anticipated technologies that should be part of the 802.11n specification due in 2006.
Atheros executives were unavailable for comment at press time.
"The numbers show that this is definitely a hot market. In 2003, more than 50 million 802.11 chip sets shipped, and we expect shipments to exceed 100 million units by 2005," said Linley Gwennap, coauthor and principal analyst at The Linley Group, in a statement.