Broadcom WLAN Radio Makes G Whizz

The company's single-chip 802.11g wireless LAN radio boosts battery life and the WLAN's range.

Targeting devices, such as smart phones, that require small, efficient batteries, Broadcom Corp. is rolling out this quarter a single-chip 802.11g wireless LAN radio designed to save money and battery life while increasing range.

The AirForce One 54g model BCM4318 is the latest addition to the companys family of one-chip Wi-Fi transceivers. The Irvine, Calif., companys previous AirForce One chip supports only 802.11b.

Depending on adoption, the chip likely will replace the companys two-chip 802.11g radios. Officials declined to name licensees but said they plan to include major notebook computer and device manufacturers.

"The natural connection is the cell phone that switches to Wi-Fi VOIP [voice over IP] in the office," said Jorge Abellas-Martin, CIO of Arnold Worldwide Partners, in Boston, and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. "Battery life is a problem in all handhelds when you turn on Wi-Fi. The radios seem to consume a lot of juice."

The BCM4318 incorporates a 2.4GHz radio, a baseband processor, a media access controller and other related components. It also supports Broadcoms SecureEZSetup security configuration software, which the company introduced in May. All implementations of BCM4318 will include support for SecureEZSetup, officials said.

The chip supports several wireless security protocols, including WPA (Wireless Protected Access) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) and the IEEE 802.1x protocol.

The chip also supports 125 High Speed Mode, Broadcoms proprietary data transfer mode that offers rates of up to 125M bps. Standard 802.11g runs up to 54M bps.

The BCM4318 will compete against Atheros Communications Inc.s Atheros AR5005G single-chip 802.11g radio, which has been in production since late April.

Atheros already has shipped six-figure quantities of its single-chip 802.11g radio to device manufacturers, according to Colin Macnab, vice president of marketing and business development at the Sunnyvale, Calif., company. The chip will support both standard 802.11g and Atheros proprietary SuperG mode, which offers data link rates of up to 108M bps.


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