Atheros unveils 'world first' Wi-Fi access-point-on-a-chip

Cheaper base-stations ahoy

Access points for 802.11g wireless networks should become even cheaper next year after WLAN chip maker Atheros begins full-scale production of what it claims is the world's first 'base-station on a chip' product.

The AR5006AP-G is pitched a both home- and enterprise-oriented wireless access points and gateways. It contains the MAC, PHY and baseband and network processing components usually implemented on at least two separate chips.

That, claimed Atheros, will reduce access point makers bill-of-materials by "almost" 20 per cent. The product also makes it more practical and cost-effective to incorporate WLAN support into a range of other devices, the company said, such as media and print servers, and hard-drive storage devices.

The AR5006AP-G supports standard 802.11g Wi-Fi, along with the WPA and WPA 2 (ie. IEEE 802.11i) security standards, though it has yet to receive formal certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance for WPA. The product also incorporates the draft 802.11e quality of service specification. It also supports Atheros' Super G speed and XR range proprietary enhancements to the 802.11g standard.

The new part is Atheros' third single-chip product introduction. Earlier this year, it unveiled the world's first 802.11g and 802.11a/g one-chip offerings.

Atheros is currently sampling the AR5006AP-G, with volume production expected in Q1 2005. List price for the AR5006AP-G is below $13 in 10,000-unit quantities. ®

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