Semiconductor company Atheros announced it has developed a new 802.11g chip for mobile devices that will be three times more power efficient and will provide almost twice the data throughput as current solutions.

“The key driver to this is fixing the biggest issue that the industry has today with mobile devices, and that is battery-power life,” said Joseph Bousaba, director of marketing for Atheros' mobile and embedded product lines. “In real-world tests — not simulations — we were able to achieve really low power-consumption numbers that are unseen in the market today.”

In standby mode, the new chip — the ROCm AR6002 — will use only 6 microwatts of power, and it uses 70% less power in active mode than existing solutions on the market, Bousaba said.

“If you have a four-hour battery life normally and turning on wireless LAN [connectivity] reduces it to three hours, with our solutions, the battery life will be three hours and 40 minutes,” he said.

Atheros is able to achieve this power efficiency by using host “wake-up” techniques and simulated unsynchronous adaptive power save delivery (UAPSD), described by Bousaba as “an advanced power-save mode that will enable a wireless LAN client to go to sleep between packets.”

The Atheros AR6002 benefits from a design that integrates all RF, baseband, power-amplifier, low-noise-amplifier and switching components on a single chip, Bousaba said. The new chip uses the same software that supports the current Atheros solution, the AR6001, so existing OEM customers should be able to upgrade their products to the new chip quickly, he said.

In addition, the AR6002 will provide the best performance on the market — 22 Mb/s of real throughput, compared to the 10 to 13 Mb/s realized by leading 802.11g solutions today, Bousaba said.

“We will deliver very low power consumption while delivering high throughput that will enable the consumer to do either video streaming or even send an HD stream from a handheld TV,” he said.

The Atheros AR6002 chip is currently sampling and will be in volume production during the first quarter of 2008, according to the company.