Atheros Brings Dual-Band Wi-Fi to the Mobile World

Paul Lilly

Maybe we should call this the era of mobility, because when we look back, we'll remember this time period as when cell phones transformed into smartphones (and superphones), tablet computing debut without falling on its face, and handheld devices of all kinds boasted high-speed Internet connectivity. The mobile device market is a big one, and Atheros wants to make sure it's being served with the same attention as the desktop. Atheros, which specializes in wireless chipsets, plans to do that by introducing two new "groundbreaking" Wi-Fi solutions for mobile gadgets.

The first is the company's AR6004 chip, a 2-stream 801.11n solution for devices that need the higher speed of XSPAN Wi-Fi capabilities for media applications. Atheros says its AR6004 part delivers up to 170Mbps of actual wireless throughput, paving the way for flawless media streaming and file sharing on any Wi-Fi device.

"With more Wi-Fi devices crowding the 2.4 GHz band, consumers can leverage the 5 GHz band for media applications requiring relatively interference-free bandwidth," Atheros says. "The AR6004 offers dual-band capabilities and 40 MHz transmissions that enable even the smallest devices to support high data-rate applications."

Atheros also developed the AR6005 , which the company claims is the world's smallest 1-stream, single-band 802.11n solution for mobile devices. Because of its size, energy efficiency, and low cost, Atheros envisions the AR6005 driving Wi-Fi into even more feature phones and entry-level handsets.

"Measuring 12mm 2 , the AR6005's chip-scale package can be easily implemented in the thinnest mobile devices," Atheros says. "Its highly-integrated design supports Chip-on-Board (COB) implementation and eliminates the need for external components, which greatly reduces the bill-of-materials (BOM) cost for manufacturers.

Atheros says the AR6004 will sample in the second quarter of 2011 and ship in volume production by early 2012. The AR6005, meanwhile, will sample this quarter and show up in devices later this year.

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