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Agere demos 162Mbps wireless LAN chip

Three antennas triple 802.11a bandwidth

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Wireless LAN specialist Agere picked opening day at Comdex to announce prototype wireless LAN chips capable of transmitting data at 162Mbps in the 5GHz band occupied by emerging 802.11a kit.

That's three times faster than the theoretical maximum throughput of current 802.11a equipment (54Mbps) or almost 15 times the theoretical top speed of existing 802.11b kit (11Mbps).

According to Agere, the high-speed technology can be used to support high-definition video in future 802.11-based home entertainment and enterprise desktop PC applications. The company hopes to introduce the technology in products by late 2004.

Agere's demonstration platform combines Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) - two of the most promising technologies to increase data rates in the currently available wireless LAN spectrum.

OFDM technology divides the frequency band into numerous parallel sub-channels to guard against interference, while MIMO transmission significantly increases data rates with several antennas transmitting data streams at 54 Mbps and operating in the same frequency.

Together, the two technologies are able to produce a robust wireless data link operating at very high speeds.

In Lab tests at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands earlier this month, Agere was able to successfully crank the speed of its prototype kit up to 162Mbps using three separate transmitter and receiver antennas. With more antennas and receivers still greater speeds might be possible, Agere believes. ®

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