Mercury5G Goes for a Run
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Fabless chip start-up Synad Technologies has in hand a working Mercury5G, the two-chip dual-band wireless LAN chip set they announced in 2001. The Mercury5G will support both 802.11b and 802.11a networks for seamless client roaming.
The Mercury5G will include system drivers, protocol software, reference designs and a developer's kit for OEMs wanting to use the chips.
"We are already working closely now with a limited number of potential customers and will be sampling the devices to them very shortly," says Kevin Mapplebeck, vice president of Marketing at Synad. "We expect to make further announcements in due course."
The Mercury5G uses a function called AgileRF to deliver seamless roaming. According to Mapplebeck, "it comprises both proprietary hardware techniques which are embodied in the chipset as well as proprietary software delivered as chipset firmware and utilities. AgileRF is based on some core principles. The first is the ability to hold a link with an AP and at the same time monitor and maintain an awareness of other network or AP availability. Having achieved this, AgileRF provides intelligent decision making to disassociate/reassociate."
The chip set, which will sell in quantity for $32, is comprised of a dual-radio chip (the SYRF8100) and a modem/MAC chip (SYBB8200), are actually produced by pure-play semiconductor foundry UMC, using a .18-micron CMOS technology. The radio chip has built in enhancements from UMC's RFCMOS technology.
Mercury5G is not the first CMOS-based dual-mode chip: Atheros has the AR5001X, a dual-mode three-chip set, unlike the Mercury5G which is only two chips.
Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.