Atheros Communications today launched the AR5007EG chip, an integrated 802.11g PCI Express (PCIe) solution designed to provide cost-effective wireless LAN, or WLAN connectivity for desktop and lower-cost notebook PCs projected to hit the market during the next two years.

Previous generations of Atheros’ 802.11g chips were four-layer design, but the AR5007EG integrates the complete WLAN solution—including the low noise amplifier and the power amplifier, as well as the voltage regulator—in a two-layer minicard design, said Tony Hsu, Atheros’ director of product marketing. As a result, using the AR5007EG results in a 50% cost savings in printed-circuit-board (PCB) costs and a 25% reduction in bill of materials, he said.

“Even with the cost optimization and integration, we did not cut any corners in terms of performance, so [it] still achieves best-in-class performance,” Hsu said in an interview with MRT. “Basically, you’re getting all the benefits and keeping the same performance.”

Indeed, the AR5007EG delivers maximum physical data rates of 54 Mb/s and maximum range of more than 300 feet. In addition, the solution is Microsoft Vista certified, so it will work with PCs deployed to take advantage of the next major operating system upgrade, Hsu said.

By 2008, 31% of notebook PCs will cost less than $800, according to IDC. In addition, the research firm reports that the WLAN attach rate in mobile PCs jumped from 65% in 2004 to 89% in 2005, and is projected to increase to 100% next year. Atheros believes the AR5007EG can serve as the cost-effective WLAN solution for these lower-cost computing devices.

"While Atheros is enjoying tremendous uptake of our high performance draft 802.11n-based XSPAN solutions by leading PC manufacturers, we recognize a complementary need for basic Wi-Fi connectivity across the growing value PC segment,” Todd Antes, vice president of marketing for Atheros, said in a statement. “The AR5007EG chip is an ideal solution for our PC OEM customers looking to deliver Wi-Fi connectivity, even to the most price-conscious consumers.”