Atheros Communications' ROCm AR6002 family of single-chip designs lays claim to being the new benchmark for low-power performance in Wi-Fi systemspower consumption is low enough to give Wi-Fi a big boost in the cell phone and handheld markets.
AR6002 ROCm consumes 70% less power in active mode than other solutions, the company says, and has near-zero impact in standby mode. Together, these design achievements significantly lengthen battery life for mobile phones and similar systems.
The AR6002 family comes in four configurations determined by of single band or dual-band options of IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g and by packaging options.
Atheros' minimizes power consumption through a combination of advanced hardware and software power-saving protocols and techniques including:
- Utilization of multiple voltage islands, high threshold voltage (HVT) and substrate biasing to reduce leakage
- The chip's extreme deep sleep mode
- Advanced Host Wake-Up (Wake-on-Wireless ) support in software, and Ad Hoc Power Save
- Atheros' Simulated U-APSD smart technology that enables the benefits of U-APSD even on legacy non-U-APSD access points (APs) which comprise 95 percent of all APs currently deployed.
In active mode, the AR6002 extends battery-life with its industry-leading throughput which reduces the amount of time the WLAN chip must be on. In addition, the AR6002 significantly extends battery-life by drawing virtually zero power in standby (the mode which tends to dominate typical usage patterns). As a result, the new Wi-Fi family generates near-zero battery impact in power-sensitive mobile devices.
The AR6002 solution would take more than 100 hours to deplete a standard 3.7V, 800mAh phone battery in continual VoIP mode. In another application using the AR6002 design, 200 gigabytes of data could be downloaded before depleting the same battery, the company says.
Will Strauss, president and principal analyst of Forward Concepts, said he was "impressed by its extraordinarily low power consumption. With its near-zero impact on battery-life, the AR6002 should transform Wi-Fi from an optional to a must-have feature across mobile devices."
This performance achievement effectively eliminates the power consumption challenge facing mobile designers when determining whether to include Wi-Fi in devices like smartphones, personal media players, digital still cameras, gaming and other portable consumer devices.
Atheros provides designers with complete, turnkey, market-proven mobile Wi-Fi solutions enabling ease-of-design and fast time-to-market. Implementation with the AR6002 solutions is enhanced with mature, pre-qualified ROCm software features augmented through collaborations with Microsoft, Qualcomm and TI.
Atheros' ROCm family features:
- The only WLAN driver pre-installed in every copy of Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 operating system;
- A very highly integrated dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi reference platforms through its exclusive relationship with Qualcomm, resulting in new-generation smartphones;
- The only mobile WLAN designs optimized for TI's new DaVinci processor which support low-cost, low-power, high-performance wireless video devices.
The AR6002 is optimized and validated for coexistence with any certified Bluetooth on the market. In addition to implementing industry standard, 2-, 3-, 4-wire protocols, for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth coexistence in mobile devices, Atheros has developed advanced algorithms that adjust the WLAN communication behavior when in the presence of Bluetooth
With this unique capability only Atheros provides the added intelligence for mobile devices to manage APs, determining when the AP should transmit to avoid interference with Bluetooth traffic. Without this innovative Atheros function, users may increasingly experience performance degradation caused by the growing number of co-located Bluetooth devices and WLANs which share the 2.4GHz band.
The AR6002 family offers full-speed, hardware-based, security with the WPA, WPA2, and 802.11i standards and supports the industry standardized Wi-Fi Protected Set-Up with Atheros JumpStart for Wireless.
The solutions also offer a rich feature set to support voice and video through polled QoS extensions (802.11e and WMM). The AR6002 provides full driver support for Windows Embedded CE, Windows Mobile, and Linux-based designs.
The AR6002 is available in single and dual-band (2.4GHz and 2.4/5GHz) designs in CSP or BGA packages to satisfy a wide array of application design requirements. The AR6002 features substantial RBOM integration onto the chip with integrated power amplifier (PA), low noise amplifier (LNA) and RF switch in a leading total solution footprint of less than 50mm2.
- AR6002G: 11g 2.4GHz single-band solution in a BGA package
- AR6002GZ: 11g 2.4GHz single-band solution in a CSP package
- AR6002X: 11a/g 2.4/5GHz dual-band solution in a BGA package
- AR6002XZ: 11a/g 2.4/5GHz dual-band solution in a CSP package
Atheros' AR6002 second-generation ROCm solutions are currently sampling and will be in volume production in the first quarter of 2008.
More information is available at www.atheros.com.