SAN JOSE -- Atmel Corp. here today announced a partnership with RF Micro Devices Inc. to offer reference design systems for wireless networking products using components from each supplier.
Together, Atmel and RF Micro Devices said they will offer reference-design platforms to serve the IEEE 802.11b specification for 11-megabits-per-second wireless local area networks. The reference designs will use RF Micro's 2.4-GHz chip set and Atmel's family of Fast-VirtualNet media access controllers (MAC), which are based on RISC processor technology from ARM Ltd. Atmels' ARM Thumb-based MAC chips provide a variety of interfaces to the host platform.
According to Nick Kanopoulos, Atmel's director of multimedia and communications, the joint solution provides the best options for both network interface cards and access point implementations.
The companies said they will provide complete reference designs to qualified customers, including schematics, layout files and bill of materials (BOM). According to Atmel, these solutions provide enhanced system performance and, with an expected BOM of around $50--a cost that the company says is about 30% less than alternative solutions.
The cost reduction is expected to help fuel demand from the home market, as well as increase penetration in the enterprise market, said A.J. Nadler, director of RF Micro's Silicon Systems product line, based in Greensboro, N.C. "Wireless LAN manufacturers who adopt our solution should enjoy a significant reduction in cost over existing solutions," he said. "Together with Atmel we believe we have achieved the best performance and lowest cost available."
Atmel supports its products with a full suite of firmware and drivers, including PCMCIA, Universal Serial Bus (USB) and Access Points. The Fast-VNET parts also include an integrated wired equivalent privacy (WEP) block that allows encryption/decryption on the fly, according to the San Jose company.