SOURCE: Atheros

November 03, 2009 08:00 ET

Atheros Announces XSPAN With SST3 11n Ecosystem of Solutions for Highest Performance Multimedia Networking

AR9300 Family Features 3-Stream 11n Plus New Signal Sustain Technology-3 to Maximize WLAN Bandwidth at Range to Improve Wireless Home Coverage

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - November 3, 2009) - Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, today launched its AR9300 family of 11n solutions, based on XSPAN® with Signal Sustain Technology-3, or SST3™. This new technology from Atheros provides 450 Mbps PHY rates derived from its 3-stream 11n MIMO configuration, combined with a unique set of range-enhancing 11n features, which together boost and sustain signal strength at every point along the wireless link. Atheros is delivering an SST3 product ecosystem that will serve key customer markets with end-to-end connectivity. Solutions will provide robust bandwidth and energy efficiencies for latency-free media connectivity for personal computers, digital home networking equipment from retail vendors, carriers and consumer electronics manufacturers, and enterprise/small medium business (SMB) networking equipment.

"Atheros offers customers a unique advantage with our significant presence across multiple networking markets including computing, digital home networking, and enterprise/SMB," said Ben Naskar, vice president and general manager of Atheros' networking business unit. "Just as we did with our highly successful Align™ 1-stream family this year, we are rolling out an ecosystem of SST3 solutions to enable end-to-end connection of products across market segments to support the growing demand for the very best wireless infrastructure to expand network capacity, deliver flawless video, improve productivity and enhance the overall user experience."

Leveraging the Rich Array of 11n Features to Enhance Rate-over-Range

Atheros' new implementation of 11n leverages a variety of range enhancement options to ensure that the high throughput levels achieved with the 3x3 MIMO configuration are maintained across the entire WLAN link.

--  Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) guards against packet loss at every
    point on the link.
--  Maximum Likelihood Demodulation (MLD) optimizes MIMO demodulation to
    boost signal strength at close range.
--  Transmit Beamforming (TxBF) focuses transmit signals to the receiver
    to enhance the link rate at mid-range on the link continuum.
--  Maximal Ratio Combining (MRC) enables the receiver to optimally
    combine the MIMO signal paths, aligning time and phase of the signal
    receive to extend link reliability at longer range.
    

This effective combination of features results in a median rate-over-range improvement across the entire link of approximately 50 percent versus conventional 2x2 MIMO 11n solutions. Performance is maximized when products on both ends of the link are based on XSPAN with SST3, however the technology provides performance benefits when connected to all 11n solutions, and offers backward compatibility with 11g- and 11a/g-based devices.

"The recently ratified IEEE 802.11n standard provides many implementation options, ranging from 1- to 4- streams to enable unprecedented PHY rates for Wi-Fi®. The standard also offers multiple techniques to boost transmit and receive capabilities, which help sustain these PHY rates across the wireless link," said Bill McFarland, vice president and chief technology officer of Atheros. "In XSPAN with SST3, we've implemented what we consider to be the most effective combination of these optional features and advanced techniques, to provide a WLAN platform that is best suited to support the connectivity demands of high-quality multimedia."

Serving a Wide Array of Advanced Wireless Applications

The AR9300 family of XSPAN with SST3, designed as the high-performance platform for a broad ecosystem of products, is well suited to serve the needs of multiple applications across markets.

--  PCs -- The new solutions target premium consumer and commercial PC
    platforms in high-end notebooks and desktops. Consumers who use their
    computers as media servers with "media center" applications will enjoy the
    robust coverage that the higher rate-over-range of SST3 provides. In the
    enterprise, commercial PC platforms will benefit from the efficiency of
    quicker downloads and connectivity at longer range, as well as faster
    transfers in peer-to-peer networks to improve workplace productivity.
--  Digital Home -- A variety of networking platforms are supported by the
    AR9300. They include 450 Mbps retail access points and routers, premium
    gateways capable of supporting carrier distribution of Video-over-Wireless
    across the digital home, and a variety of consumer electronic networking
    products such as TVs, set top boxes and gaming consoles able to support the
    most bandwidth-hungry, high-definition video content.
--  Enterprise/SMB -- In the enterprise, Atheros' SST3 technology will
    enable dual-band, dual-concurrent routers to provide wired Ethernet-grade
    performance that supports extended network coverage and enhanced
    productivity.
    

"With Wi-Fi providing Internet connectivity to just about any multimedia content that a consumer wants, the urge is growing to experience this content wherever they are -- while sitting in an airport, in a school library, or in the bedroom of their home," said Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal industry analyst of iSuppli. "Along with this demand grows the opportunity for high-performance solutions like XSPAN with SST3, to derive the full performance benefits of the 11n standard, and deliver on the wireless multimedia promise."

Solutions that will comprise the XSPAN with SST3 ecosystem are:

   Digital Home
   AP/Router platforms
     -- AR9380/81-based single-band/dual-band Gigabit Ethernet platforms
   Carrier Gateway & CE platforms
     -- AR9380-based DSL, Cable, Set Top Box and TV solutions
   Enterprise/SMB
   AP/Router platforms
     -- AR9390-based dual-band Gigabit Ethernet POE platforms
   Computing
   Notebook and Desktop platforms
     -- AR9380 Dual-band - PCIe

XSPAN with SST3 Makes Sharing Media Content Easy with Atheros Direct Connect™ Technology

All computing solutions based on XSPAN with SST3 support Atheros Direct Connect, enabling notebooks to connect multimedia content directly to other client devices without transmitting through an access point. With the solutions' 450 Mbps PHY rate, Direct Connect can transfer HD content simultaneously to multiple clients, while concurrently being connected to the Internet. This capability significantly advances the usability of the Wi-Fi connection to enable anytime, anywhere sharing of content.

Delivering Low Power Advantages

Despite the AR9300 family's impressive rate-over-range, it delivers exceptionally low power through a variety of techniques implemented both in hardware and software. In solutions for PCs, Atheros has implemented Dynamic MIMO Power Save, which enables power efficiencies by downshifting to engage fewer transceivers when applications do not require the full 3x3 operation. Atheros' SST3 solutions also feature Wake-on-Wireless™ to enable the host to sleep for longer periods for enhanced efficiency. In all of the AR9300 networking solutions, Atheros has implemented Unscheduled Automatic Power Save Delivery (UAPSD), which allows PCs to sleep more often and longer when connected to SST3-based routers. And, across the entire family of AR9300 solutions, Atheros has implemented its patented Efficient Power Amplifier™ (EPA) technology to lower the power utilization when the PA is integrated onto the chip.

Product Availability

Atheros will begin sampling its XSPAN with SST3 solutions in the first quarter of 2010.

About Atheros Communications, Inc.

Atheros Communications is a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications. Atheros combines its wireless and networking systems expertise with high-performance radio frequency (RF), mixed signal and digital semiconductor design skills to provide highly integrated chipsets that are manufactured on low-cost, standard complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processes. Atheros technology is used by a broad base of leading customers, including personal computer, networking equipment and consumer device manufacturers. For more information, please visit http://www.atheros.com or send an email to info@atheros.com.

Atheros, the Atheros logo, XSPAN, SST3, Align, Direct Connect, Wake-on-Wireless, and Efficient Power Amplifier are trademarks of Atheros Communications, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the sole property of their respective owners.

NOTE ON FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including the features, benefits and performance of Atheros' products, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including, but not limited to, difficulties in the development of new and enhanced products, general economic conditions, the effects of competition and technological change, and the risks detailed in Atheros' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in other reports filed with the SEC by Atheros from time to time. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Atheros disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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