Atheros Brings Dual-Band 802.11n Wi-Fi And Bluetooth 4.0 To Single Chip

Atheros Brings Dual-Band 802.11n Wi-Fi And Bluetooth 4.0 To Single Chip

It's Mobile World Congress, which means lots and lots of mobile innovations. Atheros is a major player in this space, and while they aren't a household name in the consumer universe, they power a lot of devices that end up in consumer hands. The latest innovation out of the company is a world's first: it's a monolithic combo of 2-stream, dual-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 for tablets, notebooks and netbooks.

The XSPAN AR9462 isn't an easy name to remember, but the potential here is notable. The company has combined a 2-stream, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi module with a Bluetooth 4.0 module, on the same chip! Hardly any phones at all have been announced to even support Bluetooth 4.0, so having both of these capabilities on one chip should brighten the eyes of those who will need to replace their existing smartphone in a year or so.

Both dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and BT 4.0 will be focused on speed and low-power, both of which should be more equipped to handle HD streaming and such; both which are definitely in the future of mobile devices. The good news is that Atheros is planning to ship samples in Q1 of this year, but who knows how long it will take for phone companies to implement and ship this in products.

Atheros Raises the Standard for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Combo Solutions

Extends Most Popular Computing Portfolio with World’s First Monolithic Combo of 2-Stream, Dual-Band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 for Tablets, Notebooks and Netbooks

BARCELONA, Spain – February 14, 2011 — Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, today extended its family of combination solutions that provide best-in-class Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® connectivity for tablets, notebooks and netbooks. Atheros is introducing the XSPAN® AR9462 – the world’s first combo solution that integrates high-performance 2-stream, dual-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 technologies onto a single silicon die.

Computers and mobile phones are converging into new devices – like tablets – that are used to create and consume media content, as well as stay connected to the Web and social media applications. Consumers want a consistent and flawless experience across all of their devices, which requires the same high-performance wireless technologies on a variety of platforms. By combining its best-in-class Wi-Fi and Bluetooth into a smaller and more cost effective solution, Atheros is enabling manufacturers to greatly expand the functionality of these converged devices, while improving their size, cost, and battery life.

Key Facts:

    * As Wi-Fi and Bluetooth become must-have features in tablets and computers, Atheros offers a variety of solutions that combine both technologies into multi-chip or single-chip products. Integrating multiple wireless technologies into a system-on-a-chip (SoC) not only provides Atheros customers with greater design flexibility, but can actually improve the wireless experience for consumers.
    * Dual-band Wi-Fi capabilities are essential for devices that are used for a mix of Internet, data, media and data offloading applications. The AR9462 offers robust wireless bandwidth in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, and uses Atheros’ Signal-Sustain Technology™ (SST) to boost signals across the entire Wi-Fi link. This enables consumers to maintain reliable Internet connections on the 2.4 GHz band, while using wider (40 MHz) transmission channels in the 5 GHz band to create, consume and share digital media content – which requires more reliable bandwidth and less interference.
    * The AR9462 also offers DirectConnect™ technology, Atheros’ Wi-Fi Direct CERTIFIED feature that enables instant peer-to-peer connections without a router or broadband access. This provides PC users with a fast and easy way to transmit HD video or synchronize files between Wi-Fi devices.
    * All of Atheros’ latest combination solutions support the new Bluetooth 4.0 specification, which adds low-energy features to one of the industry’s most prolific wireless technologies. Bluetooth 4.0 not only enables high-speed wireless connections between legacy Bluetooth products, but can also operate with devices such as low-power sensors in wristwatches, home control systems and other devices that aren’t traditionally “connected.”
    * To ensure a better wireless experience, the AR9462 uses Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation™ technology to minimize interference between the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. This results in faster Web surfing and flawless media streaming on the WLAN link, and glitch-free use of Bluetooth mice and keyboards and headsets – even when using both wireless radios at the same time.
    * For Atheros customers adding multiple wireless features to their designs, the AR9462 can reduce manufacturing costs by up to 45 percent, compared to solutions that use separate WLAN and Bluetooth chips. To enable a lower bill-of-materials, Atheros’ highly-integrated design shares components between the WLAN and Bluetooth systems, and completely eliminates the need for external power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), and other components.
    * The Atheros AR9462 supports the most popular design options for today’s computing platforms, including:
          o ARM® or x86 processors
          o PCIe interface for WLAN and USB interface for Bluetooth
          o Windows®, Android™ and other Linux® and emerging operating systems
    * Atheros plans to sample the AR9462 to customers in Q1, 2011. It will offer single-band and dual-band reference designs (WB222 and WB221, respectively) to provide manufacturers with additional flexibility for their next-generation designs.
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Yeah this is a nice combo chip ahead of it's time it seems. As one who needs a new smart phone now, I can say this about the "who will need a smart phone in about a year", with the current rate of upgrade in this market space I think many will as there will be many upgrades in 12 months of course. From what I am seeing it looks like LTE as well as advanced LTE, and maybe even the version following that are gonna hit like a ton of Bricks falling of a very high overpass. The thing is some of the things hitting at MWC are huge for extending coverage as well as minimizing the space needed to do so. The next thing is Wimax and LTE from what I have heard are software upgradeable to a decent extent. So there next version will not need the hardware implementation, not to mention the government is seemingly going to also subsidize some of it as well.

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