AMD Debuts Tiny, Low-Power 802.11b Chipset
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Company To Pursue Both WiFi OEMs and Current Notebook PC Partners
While high-end laptop PCs or deep-pocketed commercial users will move to faster 802.11a and 802.11g wireless networking by 2004, AMD predicts, today's 802.11b WiFi technology will soon be a staple of everything from PDAs and cell phones to car-dashboard information systems -- and an ultra-efficient and -compact new WiFi chipset from AMD will help make it so.
The chipmaker's Personal Connectivity Solutions group has announced sample availability of the Alchemy Solutions Am1772 WLAN chipset, plus a reference design kit for a WiFi adapter that takes only one side of a 2.8 by 1.8-inch Mini PCI card. By contrast, AMD points out, rivals like Agere Systems use both sides of a card, making the Am1772 a prime candidate for combo products and other implementations expected when production quantities ship in the first quarter of 2003.
According to the company, the two-chip Am1772 solution combines an integrated baseband processor/media access controller (MAC), with direct-memory-access (DMA) host interface and on-chip hardware acceleration to reduce the host CPU load, and a CMOS RF transceiver with no need for a separate intermediate-frequency chip. An all-digital interface between the two chips helps eliminate the need for an on-chip microcontroller and external flash memory and SRAM.