RealTime IT News

New 802.11a Chips Ship

Almost a year ago, San Jose, CA-based Resonext Communications announced 802.11a-based RN5200 chipsets, one set for access points and another for clients. Now the silicon has cleared all the hurdles of standards stress tests with the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association and they are in full production.

Each CMOS-based set two-chip combination works in only the 5.15-5.35GHz UNII bands (plus the 4.9-5.1GHz Japan bands). The access point chip set -- RN5200AP, priced at $42 in volume -- consists of the RN5205 RF chip and the RN5202 baseband/MAC integrated circuit (IC). The chips can handle 64MB of external addressable memory and supports memory like FLASH, SDRAM, EEPROM, and others. It can interface with external Ethernet on the PHY layer and a RS232 port for configuration.

The client chip set -- RN5200C, priced at $35 in volume -- is comprised of the RN5205 RF transceiver and RN5201 baseband/MAC IC. It works in PC Cards, PCI Cards, or miniPCI interfaces. Like the access point chips, it supports 802.11i security mechanisms (based on the current IEEE draft for 802.11i).

Resonext has a PC Card reference design for OEMs who want to get product started fast on product production. According to Robert Fan, VP of Marketing at Resonext, "We're looking into other designs, and other form factors, but many of our customers take the PC Card design and generate new form factors of their own." Currently, the company's only announced customer is Taiyo Yuden of Japan.

The RN5200 chips support the current drafts for 802.11e Quality of Service (QoS) for making sure high priority network video and audio get to their destination first, and 802.11h for dynamic channel selection (DCS) and transmit power control (TPC) for preventing interference with devices operating in the 5GHz band, especially in Europe where the 5GHz HiperLAN/2 is big.

The products use a proprietary AccuChannel equalization technology to counteract multi-path and signal attenuation delays, extending the range of the WLAN by up to 32% according to Resonext. They say it can reduce the need for extra access points, but of course it requires end to end use of Resonext RN5200 based products. Other benefits of using RN5200 chips throughout an installation include 802.1X, TKIP, AES encryption and RC4 encryption when using 40- and 128-bit WEP. The baseband/MAC chip uses a Flexible Media Access Controller architecture that is programmable by OEM customers.

802.11 Planet Conference Not sure if you want 11b, 11a or both? Join us at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo, Dec. 3-5 in Santa Clara, CA. One of our sessions will answer the question of Dual-Mode Chipsets: The Ultimate Solution?