SOURCE: Atheros

November 02, 2009 08:00 ET

Atheros Extends Its 11n Expertise to Mobile WLAN, Bringing Robust Multimedia Performance to Smartphones, Mobile Gaming and Portable CE

New AR6003 Builds on the Widely Adopted ROCm Mobile Wi-Fi and Align 11n Technologies to Deliver Unprecedented Mobile Wireless Performance and Energy Efficiencies

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - November 2, 2009) - Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, today announced the launch of the industry's highest performance mobile WLAN technology, the ROCm® single-chip 11n AR6003 family. The AR6003 builds on the success of the industry-leading AR6002, combining the superior mobile WLAN throughput, range and energy efficiency of the ROCm technology with Atheros' Align™ 1-stream 11n market leadership and expertise. The result is a Wi-Fi® solution capable of up to 85Mbps of actual throughput, ideally suited to support demanding multimedia applications on smartphones, mobile gaming devices and other portable consumer electronics products.

With its tiny footprint, energy-saving qualities and robust performance, the AR6003 is well-positioned to drive broad adoption of Wi-Fi in mobile handheld devices and is the perfect mobile complement to the comprehensive Atheros ecosystem of Align-based 1-stream 11n solutions. Atheros Align technology is already featured in a wide array of netbooks, notebooks and desktop PCs from seven of the top 10 PC manufacturers and in routers from the top five home networking equipment vendors. The rapid expansion and success of Align-based products, which now number over 10 million computers and AP/routers, provide a growing ecosystem that will enhance the performance of portable devices connected with Atheros 1-stream 11n for the mobile WLAN segment.

Industry-Leading Throughput for Mobile WLANs

The AR6003 delivers actual end-user throughput up to four times that of mobile WLAN solutions based on 11g. With its 11n capabilities, the AR6003 achieves up to 48Mbps TCP/IP in the 2.4 GHz band in 20 MHz mode, and an unprecedented 85Mbps TCP/IP in 5 GHz in 40 MHz mode.

The new ROCm AR6003 enhances its rate-over-range performance above the coverage improvements inherent in the 802.11n MAC and PHY, by leveraging advanced optional 11n features such as Space Time Block Coding (STBC) and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC). STBC improves downlink performance to the mobile device, while LDPC encoding improves uplink performance of mobile clients to Atheros XSPAN- and Align-based wireless access points (APs). Together, these features increase actual throughput levels over longer distances.

"Wi-Fi isn't just a nice-to-have in handsets and other highly-mobile devices -- it's essential," said Craig Mathias, a Principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group (Ashland, MA). "Single-stream 802.11n is the ideal solution in this use case enabling high-performance multimedia applications, and we expect to see hundreds of millions of single-stream products -- from handsets to netbooks, gaming devices, cameras, and eBooks, just to name a few -- ship over the next few years. Atheros is building on its leadership position and catching a big wave here, enabling capabilities that will amaze and delight product designers and consumers alike."

Unparalleled Energy Efficiency

The AR6003 features the lowest current consumption of any 11n mobile WLAN solution on the market today to significantly extend battery life, while supporting the power demands of transmitting large media files. Building on the market-proven power efficiency of the AR6002 combined with the low-power benefits derived from faster transmissions at 11n speeds, the AR6003, like its predecessor, is breaking the power barrier for mobile WLAN. The AR6003 also employs the company's patented on-chip Efficient Power Amplifier™ (EPA) technology to reduce the power typically consumed by internal PAs, while delivering the output power of an external PA. The result is an average receive current consumption at 11n rates that is 20 percent lower than that of the AR6002, previously the industry's lowest power mobile WLAN solution.

Atheros AR6003 Goes Beyond Coexistence with Universal Wireless Cooperation™

In designing the AR6003, Atheros implemented a suite of advanced mobile wireless coexistence techniques, known as Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation, in its firmware to significantly enhance the simultaneous operation of WLAN and Bluetooth in mobile devices. This suite consists of features such as:

--  Shared Rx mechanism -- Improves WLAN and Bluetooth coexistence by
    enabling the AR6003 to route the receive traffic through its internal low
    noise amplifier (LNA) directly to the Bluetooth RF port. As a result, the
    solution is able to optimize mobile WLAN throughput when co-located with
    any Bluetooth chip.
--  Advanced Coexistence Enhancements -- Employing advanced Packet Traffic
    Arbitration (PTA)-focused algorithms, the AR6003 is able to quickly examine
    the contents of WLAN frames to prioritize Wi-Fi traffic and optimize
    throughput, while avoiding interference with Bluetooth operation.
    Additional algorithms significantly improve WLAN rate-over-range
    performance when cooperating with Bluetooth, without compromising
    throughput at close range.
    

"Leveraging Atheros' innovation, market leadership and expertise in 11n technology, we are pleased to deliver yet another mobile WLAN breakthrough with the AR6003," said Amir Faintuch, vice president and general manager of Atheros' mobile business unit. "With this Align-based solution running on a standard 1500 mAh battery dedicated to Wi-Fi alone, a user could download nearly one terabyte of data. That's equivalent to transferring 250,000 songs or 40 HD-quality movies."

Industry's Smallest 11n Mobile WLAN Solution

Atheros has taken integration to a new level with the AR6003 to enable 11n-class performance in a wider variety of mobile handsets and handheld products. The AR6003 eliminates many external components compared to competitive mobile WLAN solutions. The solution features an integrated, linearized, high-efficiency power amplifier, and power management unit (PMU) on chip enabling direct connection to the battery. The result of this integration is the industry's most compact standalone 11n solution, measuring a miniscule 5mm x 5mm.

The AR6003 is available in single (2.4 GHz) and dual-band (2.4/5 GHz) options in BGA or CSP packages to satisfy a wide array of application design requirements.

--  AR6003G -- 11n 1-stream 2.4 GHz single-band solution, BGA package
--  AR6003GZ -- 11n 1-stream 2.4 GHz single-band solution, CSP package
--  AR6003X -- 11n 1-stream 2.4/5 GHz dual-band solution, BGA package
--  AR6003XZ -- 11n 1-stream 2.4/5 GHz dual-band solution, CSP package
    

AR6003 Enables Anywhere, Anytime Multimedia Content Sharing with Atheros Direct Connect™

The AR6003 features Atheros Direct Connect AP Mode, the company's peer-to-peer Wi-Fi technology for mobile devices. With its impressive 1-stream 11n throughput levels up to 85 Mbps transmitted over Direct Connect, the solution can share rich media content with other Wi-Fi-enabled devices anywhere, anytime, while simultaneously maintaining Internet connectivity for email, browsing and file downloads.

Other Features

ROCm software offers designers the flexibility to build an enhanced mobile device with host wakeup, and Wi-Fi Protected Setup™ (WPS).

Product Availability

Atheros' AR6003 third-generation ROCm solutions are currently sampling and already designed into various mobile applications

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, ROCm, Align, XSPAN, Efficient Power Amplifier, Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation and Direct Connect 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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