WAYNE, N.J. Wireless LAN (WLAN) chip set provider Atheros is stepping up the heat on startup Airgo Networks with the release of a smart antenna chip set for 802.11a/g applications. At the same time, Atheros will try and take business away from Broadcom with the development of a security setup software suite.
During this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a number of OEMs are either showing off or releasing MIMO-based WLAN systems. And many of these demos, including ones from Belkin, Netgear, and Linksys, are based on a MIMO-based WLAN chip set from startup Airgo Networks.
Atheros is hoping to bring a change to that picture in the future. At CES, the Sunnyvale, Calif.,-based company has released its AR5005VL chip set, which the company claims supports MIMO-like operation.
The AR5005VL chip set supports up to four antennas and can deliver 50-Mbit/s real throughputs when operating on both sides of a connection, Atheros said. The company added that the chip set can delivers 27-Mbit/s throughputs when only one side of the link implements the chip set.
Atheros said it achieves MIMO-like performance in its AR5005VL through the use of phased-array beamforming and cyclic relay diversity. Atheros said the chip set also employs receive combining to improve link performance.
The chip set is available in both 802.11g and 802.11a/g versions. Available now, the chip set is priced at under $23 in 10,000-unit volumes.
On the heels of its smart antenna chip set announcement, Atheros is also prepping for a battle with Broadcom in the WLAN space with the release of its JumpStart for Wireless software tool suite.
In May of this year, Broadcom made a splash in the WLAN sector with the release of a software package, called EasySecureSetup, that let users automatically secure WLAN networks using a Wizard on a PC. Broadcom followed up its May announcement this week by adding a push-button capability to its EasySecureSetup software offering.
After watching Broadcom gain adoption from companies like Linksys and Hewlett Packard, Atheros is bringing its JumpStart software package to market. Through this package, Atheros claims that users can setup a secure Wi-Fi network with a few mouse clicks and a few simple actions.
From a basic perspective, the JumpStart tool lets users visually authenticate the wireless network connection by observing a flashing LED on the wireless access point or broadband router. The JumpStart software tool then creates an encryption key using the Diffie-Hellman protocol. The software tool also self negotiates with the highest security capability of each device in the network and provides support for AES and Wi-Fi Protected Access. Finally, the user creates a password to provide secure network access for configuring and adding new devices in the wireless network.
Atheros said the JumpStart software was developed in conjunction with OEMs, in particular D-Link. The software tool is available now and is supported on the company's full line of WLAN chip sets.