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Atheros touts 802.11n chip for phones, handhelds

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We may at last be soon able to see handheld gadgets equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi. WLAN chipmaker Atheros has introduced a part aimed at just such devices, but don't expect full 802.11n speeds.

The AR6003 series of chips comprise single-band (2.4GHz) and dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) offerings. All of them, however, use a single receive-transmit antenna, a system some vendors, Atheros included, like to call "one-stream 11n".

The point here is that 802.11n mandates at least two antennae, its mutiple-input, multiple-output (Mimo) technology being on of the key components that allows the standard to provide higher throughput than 802.11a, b or g.

But it's not the only improvement, allowing Atheros to claim "AR6003 achieves up to 48Mb/s TCP/IP in the 2.4GHz band in 20MHz mode, and an unprecedented 85Mb/s TCP/IP in 5 GHz in 40MHz mode".

However you look at it, that's faster than 802.11g can provide.

What's kept 802.11n out of handhelds so far has been high power consumption levels. Atheros said the AR6003 series members consume 20 per cent less power than their predecessors in the 802.11a/b/g AR6002 series.

Atheros said the AR6003 series is sampling now. ®

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