SOURCE: Atheros

January 06, 2010 16:53 ET

Atheros' New GPS Solution Takes Mobile Navigation Performance to the Next Level

The AR1520 Featuring Atheros New FYX Location Core Delivers Unmatched Navigation Accuracy and Speed

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - January 6, 2010) - Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, today announced the latest member of its family of GPS solutions -- its third-generation, single-chip GPS receiver, the AR1520, and companion Atheros FYX™ 1.0 software suite. The Atheros AR1520, based on the new Atheros FYX location core, delivers greater navigation accuracy, faster location fixes, enhanced receive sensitivity, and lower power consumption, which makes it an ideal solution for mobile consumer products such as personal navigation devices (PNDs), netbooks, smartbooks, portable gaming devices, media players and smart phones.

High Precision Navigation Accuracy

GPS location functionality is quickly becoming a must-have feature in a variety of mobile products. As users have become increasingly dependent on GPS technology, they are demanding greater accuracy and response time, even in tough navigation environments. GPS systems that work most of the time or with inconsistent accuracy are no longer acceptable. To address the growing, more rigorous requirements, Atheros has designed the AR1520 and the new FYX Location Core technology from the ground up with the objective of enabling its customers to build mobile products with superior navigation accuracy and speed.

The result is the proven performance of the AR1520, which has been road-tested for accuracy on some of the most challenging GPS test routes in the world -- urban canyons where the view to positioning satellites is largely obstructed -- such as Lower Wacker Drive, Chicago, the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and the Shinjuku and Rainbow Bridge courses in Tokyo. In these demanding road tests, the AR1520 has consistently demonstrated best-in-class accuracy.

At the heart of this industry-leading navigation solution, Atheros' innovative FYX Location Core delivers a strong combination of location accuracy, fast location fixes, leading receive sensitivity, and lower power for consumer electronic products. The new Atheros FYX Location Core utilizes a unique dual-engine design, one optimized for fast searching and one for accurate navigation tracking. The FYX core utilizes eight powerful, hardware-based search engines to secure satellite locations before handing them off to any of the available 16 dedicated tracking engines. The search engines, which have been optimized for navigation-intensive applications, can be run as eight separate search engines for quicker reacquisition times or combined into one powerful engine for faster start-up searches. To lower power consumption when full search power is not required, they can also be shut down in stages.

Unlike competitors that search and track with the same engine, the Atheros tracking engines are optimized for tracking, and are superior at maintaining a lock even on very weak satellite signals, rejecting multi-path and providing precision pseudo-range, velocity and heading measurements. This unique dual-engine design not only enhances accuracy, but also results in greater power and cost efficiency than competing GPS chips.

Fast Location Fixes without Network Assistance

The Atheros AR1520 includes two new features that deliver fast location fixes similar to an assisted GPS system, but without the need for network assistance. Atheros' new ESP™ technology utilizes advanced Ephemeris Self-Prediction algorithms to generate satellite ephemeris for up to five days, with no network connection. In contrast, competing solutions require network assistance to seed their ephemeris prediction algorithms. ESP technology delivers ultra-fast start-up times with positional accuracy twice that of the nearest competitive solution. Even following a five-day period in 'off' mode, an Atheros ESP-enabled mobile device can deliver a location fix in less than 10 seconds while maintaining high positional accuracy.

Atheros' new AlwaysReady™ technology utilizes advanced power domain architecture to keep the GPS chip in a state that is always ready to get a hot start fix. When placed in AlwaysReady tracking mode, the AR1520 GPS receiver continually monitors its own clock accuracy, and wakes up to recalibrate at periodic intervals to maintain peak starting performance. This delivers the performance of assisted GPS without the need to connect to a network.

Power Consumption Hits New Lows

Leveraging Atheros Radio-on-Chip for Mobile (ROCm®) technology, known for its ultra low-power designs, the FYX location solution combo helps manufacturers extend the battery life of mobile devices. The AR1520's dedicated tracking engines allow for power-hungry search engines to be powered down when not required, delivering high-accuracy urban canyon tracking performance while consuming less than 30mW of power. In less strenuous suburban settings, low-power tracking mode further reduces tracking power to well under 10mW. Atheros new proprietary AlwaysReady mode enables the device to stay in "hot start" mode while sipping less than 1mW of power.

"Atheros' AR1520 and the new FYX Location Core deliver unmatched navigation accuracy, speed and low tracking power, without network assistance," said Amir Faintuch, vice president and general manager of Atheros' mobile business unit. "You don't need heightened location accuracy on the open highway; you need it in demanding environments when one wrong turn can lead to a long traffic delay, or worse. Where it matters most, in these tough urban canyons, the new Atheros FYX Location Core delivers superior navigation accuracy where competitive solutions struggle."

Solution Details Highlight Superior Integration

The AR1520 combines a GPS RF front end and GPS baseband processor on a single die. It features a 32-bit CPU, which enables faster processing power for both hosted and standalone configurations, to provide greater design flexibility. Additionally, to minimize the bill of materials and overall solution cost, the AR1520 has integrated several external GPS system components including the:

-- Integrated LNA and loop filter;

-- On-board power regulators.

As a result, fewer than 10 external system components are required. The solution also features dedicated tracking channels, which provide high clock drift tolerance, allowing for the Atheros solution to utilize a less expensive TCXO without sacrificing navigation performance.

The AR1520, offering an industry-leading small footprint for a complete GPS solution, is available in a 500µm pitch CSP.

The FYX 1.0 software suite provides Windows CE®, Linux 2.6 and other OS support for hosted applications. Additionally, Atheros' Install n' Go™ Application Development Kit (ADK) enables fast and easy integration of GPS into any device based on these operating systems.

Product Availability

The AR1520 and FYX 1.0 software solution provides an easy upgrade path from existing designs based on Atheros' GPS previous solutions and is sampling to customers now.

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 or send email to

Atheros, the Atheros logo, FYX, ESP, AlwaysReady, ROCm and Install n' Go are trademarks of Atheros Communications, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the sole property of their respective owners.


Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including the features, benefits and performance of Atheros' GPS products and technologies and the anticipated increased incorporation of GPS location functionality in a variety of mobile 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, personal privacy concerns related to GPS technology, the control of GPS by the United States government and the effects of domestic and foreign governmental regulations and restrictions on GPS technology, 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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