STMicro buys UK dual-mode Wi-Fi chip pioneer

Wants to sell WLAN tech into broadband kit, phones

STMicroelectronics yesterday said it has bought privately held UK fabless Wi-Fi chip developer Synad. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Last April, Synad launched its debut product: Mercury5G, a dual-band 802.11a/b/g chipset. Synad's radio technology, dubbed AgileRF, can directly hop from the 2.4GHz band to the 5GHz spectrum, courtesy of an integrated frequency synthesizer that operates right across that frequency range. That enables the chipset to monitor available 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g coverage, and switch connections dynamically, transparently and with no performance loss.

ST will essentially take over the manufacture of the 180nm Mercury5G chips, adding them to its product portfolio. The company will offer the parts directly to access point and adaptor vendor. More interestingly, however, it plans to use the technology to bolster its broadband and peripherals-oriented products. The idea is to drive the integration of Wi-Fi into set-top boxes, ADSL and cable modems, wireless handsets and so on.

Synad was founded in 2000 and currently employees more than 50 engineers, who will continue to work out of the company's Reading HQ. ®

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