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WLAN chip maker Intersil has begun sampling its latest dual-band 802.11 chipset, Prism WorldRadio, which it claims can be used anywhere in the world.

The chipset supports 802.11 b and g standards in the 2.4GHz and 802.11a in the 5GHz bands. However, it can tune into the entire WLAN spectrum in each band, 2.4-2.5GHz and 4.9-5.9GHz to support different territories' permitted zones of operation.

That allows the chipset to be used in devices aimed at the Japanese market, which has made the 4.9-5.1GHz spectrum available for WLAN traffic. Support for this band will be eventually incorporated into the 802.11 standard through the proposed 802.11j extension.

Similarly, the extra requirements demanded by the European Union are to be added to the 802.11a standard via the 802.11h extension. Again, Prism WorldRadio supports these requirements to ensure European compliance.

It also supports the draft 802.11i security standard, of which the Wi-Fi Alliance's recently launched Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is a sub-set. Cisco Compatible eXtensions (CCX) and Meetinghouse's AEGIS authentication API are also supported.

Intersil isn't the only chip maker offering such a product, but it claims Prism WorldRadio consumers 75 per cent less power than rival chipsets. It also sports as zero intermediate interference transceiver, which reduces the complexity of the chipset and thus its size and cost.

It's faster too, claims Intersil, thanks to the company's Nitro technology, which improves performance in mixed mode networks - though not multi-vendor installations, of course. ®

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