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Broadcom Delivers New Single-Chip 54g

Source: Broadcom’s press release

Broadcom Corporation today announced a new single-chip 54g wireless local area networking solution that delivers industry-leading range, configuration and security features.  The AirForce One 54g transceiver is the smallest and most cost-effective IEEE 802.11g solution on the market, facilitating more opportunities to integrate the popular 54 Mbps wireless technology into notebook and handheld computers, and consumer electronic devices. 

The new 54g solution, the Broadcom BCM4318, is the latest addition to Broadcom’s award-winning AirForce One wireless LAN family, which integrates the functionality of multiple Wi-Fi chips onto a single silicon die to reduce the size, cost and power consumption of wireless LAN devices.  The AirForce One 54g solution incorporates a high-performance 2.4 GHz radio, 802.11a/g baseband processor, medium access controller (MAC) and other radio
components.  This high level of chip integration not only reduces the size of a traditional Wi-Fi module by 72 percent, but also reduces the number of components required for wireless equipment by 45 percent over existing solutions, thereby lowering the cost of consumer and small business network equipment.  Broadcom’s latest chipset supports the extensive software feature set included in the AirForce product line, including the recently released SecureEZSetup software.

“Integration of wireless components into a single-chip is now enabling the next wave of growth for the Wi-Fi industry,” said Craig Mathias, a Principal with the Farpoint Group, a wireless and mobile advisory firm.  “Single-chip designs are critical to the size and cost reductions that will create new roles for Wi-Fi in consumer products, voice communications, and a broad range of industrial possibilities — not to mention accelerating the ubiquity of
Wi-Fi in notebook computers.”   

The AirForce One 54g solution is a flexible platform upon which manufacturers can build cost-effective wireless devices for a variety of applications.  To enable multi-band (WAN/PAN) devices such as smart phones, the new chip features built-in interfaces to the leading wide area networking technologies, including GPRS and GSM.  In addition, the AirForce One 54g solution offers Broadcom InConcert technology, which maximizes performance of solutions with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies by synchronizing transmissions.  The integrated 802.11a/g baseband/MAC allows wireless vendors to add dual-band functionality for enterprise infrastructure by simply adding
the BCM2060 5-GHz radio.

By introducing a single-chip 802.11g client device, Broadcom is the first technology vendor to enable a three chip, end-to-end home networking solution. Equipment manufacturers can pair BCM4318-based client devices with an access point/router based on the BCM2050 radio and the BCM5350, Broadcom’s new wireless router system-on-a-chip with integrated Fast Ethernet switching and VPN acceleration.  The resulting system leverages the benefits of extreme integration to maximize performance and minimize manufacturing costs.

“Broadcom continues to push the limits of chip integration technology while increasing the differentiation our new solutions offer,” said Jeff Abramowitz, Senior Director of Marketing for Broadcom’s Home & Wireless
Networking Business Unit.  “As vendors face increased demand for value-added, Wi-Fi features amidst fierce pricing competition, Broadcom’s chip integration strategy will help to redefine the price/performance standards for the
burgeoning wireless LAN market.”

The AirForce One 54g reference design, the BCM94318, can extend the range of 54g devices by up to 70 percent over existing solutions, enabling client devices to maintain connectivity at greater distances from a wireless router.
The transceiver offers increased receive sensitivity and intelligent transmit power control features, while the recently-introduced power amplifier module boosts output power and improves signal quality. 

Since wireless PCs and other mobile devices spend a majority of their time disconnected from a power supply, it is important for wireless LAN components to use a minimal amount of power.  Like Broadcom’s other wireless LAN
solutions, the AirForce One 54g chip offers a comprehensive power management scheme to extend the battery life of wireless devices.  This power management scheme leverages the benefits of extreme integration, innovative hardware design and Broadcom’s SuperStandby mode.  SuperStandby software wakes the minimum amount of circuitry for the shortest possible period of time to check for incoming data, consuming up to 97 percent less power than traditional
wireless LAN solutions in standby mode, making it an optimal part for embedded mobile operation.

The AirForce One 54g solution leverages Broadcom’s highly-integrated silicon and proven OneDriver software to deliver superior performance, ease-of-use and security features for Wi-Fi wireless networks, including:

  • The industry’s most comprehensive security portfolio, including Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) certification, and all features required for the upcoming WPA2, the Wi-Fi Alliance certified interoperable implementation of the recently ratified IEEE 802.11i standard.  The chip includes built-in hardware support for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to eliminate performance degradation when running this computationally intensive encryption algorithm.  Solutions from competitors that do not have AES in hardware are likely to experience significant performance degradation.  Designs are also certified for Cisco Compatible Extensions version 2. 
  • SecureEZSetup — An intelligent setup wizard that radically simplifies Wi-Fi wireless LAN installation and automates WPA security for 54g notebook adapters, access points and routers.
  • Xpress Technology — A standards-based frame bursting technique that improves network performance by increasing the efficiency of wireless data transmissions. 
  • 125* High Speed Mode — A standards-plus technology that provides the industry’s best real-world performance without impacting neighboring wireless networks.