Atheros Communications and PCTEL announced a licensing agreement that calls for Atheros to offer PCTEL's Soft Access Point (SoftAP) software solution for use with products that include Atheros' high-performance WLAN chipsets. The companies said the first SoftAP-enabled products from Atheros are scheduled to be available in the first quarter 2005.

The SoftAP solution converts a PC using an Atheros-based network interface card into a fully functional access point (AP) with routing and firewall capabilities. The solution enables enterprises to simply load software onto a central PC, instead of purchasing additional hardware, to wirelessly connect multiple computers or other wireless devices.

SoftAP currently supports the complete line of Atheros chipsets, including the latest Atheros single-chip 802.11a/b/g, single-chip 802.11b/g and USB 2.0 WLAN solutions.