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Synad builds dual mode WLAN chipset

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Synad, a fabless UK-based chipmaker, today announced Mercury5G, the "world's first dual mode WLAN chipset", straddling both 802.11b and 802.11a networks.

The chipset will allow client-side NICs to connect to existing 11Mbps 802.11b networks communicating at 2.4GHz, as well as the new 54Mbps 802.11a networks, which speak on the 5GHz spectrum. It uses Synad's AgileRF architecture, announced in September, to allow the two standards to work side by side.

It's an integrated two-chip solution, comprising a direct conversion (Zero IF) dual band radio chip and a modem/MAC chip, both fabricated in CMOS technology. Security features include WEP and AES encryption along with support for authentication protocols.

The company is seeking OEMs to use the chip into wireless network cards and other client-side networking devices. Such products will see the light of day around the second quarter of 2002, but this
will be in the American market, as the 5GHz spectrum is not yet openly available in Europe.

Synad says it's "only a matter of time" before the airwaves open up on this side of the Atlantic, but defines this as anything up to 24 months away. ®

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