Broadcom announces single-chip 802.11n solution
Semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom today announced its 802.11n single-chip solution, which is expected to lower the cost of 802.11n manufacturing by as much as 40% compared to current products using the nascent technology.
Broadcom claims the BCM4322 will be the world’s first chip that integrates all elements—including power amplifiers—of an 802.11n wireless LAN subsystem on a single silicon die. The chip is expected to be available during the first quarter of 2008.
Broadcom’s existing 802.11n solution includes a 130 nm controller chip, a 180 nm radio chip and external power amplifiers, said Kevin Mukai, Broadcom’s senior product line manager focusing on 802.11 products. The BCM4322 integrates all of these functions in a 65 nm chip, resulting in a 50% reduction in footprint, a 50% reduction in power consumption and lower cost.
“To give you an idea, most implementations of this solution ultimately end up in the $15-$17 range,” Mukai said. “When our previous generation came out, that started out in the market at $30. It’s not where [an 802.11g solution] is, but it’s closing the gap. I think we’re on a trajectory here to make further strides in that [price] arena.”
While costing more, 802.11n technology leverages multiple transceivers to deliver speeds that are 10 times greater than 802.11g, reaching peak data rates for 200 Mb/s—enough throughput to support video applications.
In the consumer market, industry experts have predicted that 802.11n will be used to distribute video throughout the home—for example, allowing the delivery of stored content from a DVR in one room to a TV located in another room. This capability also could prove useful to public safety, which has been searching for an efficient way to transfer recorded video from vehicles into a public-safety entity’s network.
In addition, 802.11n provides much greater range than 802.11b/g—a fact that could revitalize the market for wireless broadband using unlicensed spectrum, Mukai said. An 802.11n wide-area network would deliver much greater throughput and require much fewer nodes than networks built with older Wi-Fi technology.
“What we’re finding now is that those same kind of customers and mentalities are now being applied to 802.11n,” Mukai said.