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Taiwanese chip makers prepare 802.11g assault

Favoured weapon: price

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Intersil's recent decision to quit the "overcrowded" WLAN chip game because the numbers no longer add up is looking increasingly right-minded.

A report on DigiTimes reveals a real readiness on the part of Taiwanese WLAN chip makers to push into the 802.11g market by the end of the year.

The Taiwanese vendors are dedicated to competing on price, and have already driven the prices of 802.11b chips right down. Their entry into the 802.11g is almost certainly going to have the same effect on the high-speed wireless networking market.

ALi - formerly Acer Labs - launched an 802.11a/b/g WLAN chipset last month, and it will soon be joined by the likes of ADMtek, Inprocomm, Ralink, Realtek and ZyDAS, all of whom will have 802.11g solutions out by the end of 2003, the report says. Some of them are sampling chips now and expect to have product on sale before the start of Q4.

All of them are entering a market dominated (so far) by Western companies, like Atheros, Broadcom and, until recently, Intersil. Intersil is selling its WLAN chip business to Globespan Virata. In order to compete with these companies' established 802.11g solutions, the newcomers will have to fight a price war.

The established players will undoubtedly shift toward dual-band, triple-mode products in order to stay ahead, but as ALi has shown, the new Taiwanese players are catching up fast and will move into that sector faster than they did both standalone 802.11b and 802.11g markets. ®

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