RealTime IT News

Dual Mode 802.11a+b Chipset For Now and...Later

Envara, Inc. today announced that its WiND wireless chipset design will be compatible in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operating bands for WLAN devices. The new IEEE 802.11a+b chipset is designed to facilitate the transition from 2.4 GHz, 802.11b networks now being deployed to future deployments of the faster 802.11a 5 GHz WLANs.

Chipset designers and other WLAN equipment manufacturers foresee the eventual transition from 802.11b at 2.4 GHz to 802.11a in the 5 GHz because of the inherent advantages of operating in the 5 GHz band including higher data transmission rates (up to 54 Mbps), larger network capacity, and diminished interference. Envara's dual-mode chipset should decrease the total cost of ownership of WLAN infrastructure.

Because 802.11b networks are currently being deployed or are about to be deployed by many companies, interoperability and backwards compatibility are seen as valuable features for network installations. This flexibility allows companies to gradually evolve their networks, rather than having to radically redesign them.

Analysts at both Gartner Dataquest and Cahners In-Stat agreed that dual-mode compatibility was critical for OEMs, end-users and operators as millions of WLANs begin to be deployed.

The WiND chipset from Envara will incorporate enhanced Media Access Control (MAC) features enabling:

  • Increased security
  • Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) and Transmit Power Control (TPC) for worldwide radio regulation conformance and out-of-the-box installation.
  • QoS for users with significant streaming multimedia requirements

The chipset has IEEE 802.11i-compatible built-in security features to address user requirements for data privacy. It uses 128-bit AES, or Advanced Encryption Standard encryption with strong authentication and key exchange mechanisms. The DFS and TPC are IEEE 802.11h compatible, ensuring 'out-of-the-box' usability based on automatic frequency band conformance and tuning. The dual-mode, DFS-TPC features create transparent, worldwide interoperability, according to the company. The chipset incorporates IEEE 802.11e QoS, functionally prioritizing certain data streams. This feature is deemed important to home users, who demand quality streaming media.

Envara reported that the dual mode IEEE 802.11a+b chipset design is a two chip solution. It has an integrated baseband chip with built-in MAC and dual IEEE 802.11a+b modem functionality, plus a low cost RF chip with integrated dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz implementation. The company stated that the dual mode WiND chipsets will begin sampling in the fourth quarter of 2002, and will be available in 100K units for under $30. The company will ship single mode 5 GHz chipsets in the second quarter of 2002, accompanied by reference designs for dual mode wireless LAN products.