Indigo is a Go

First announced in June of this year by Irvine, CA-based Intersil Corporation , the PRISM Indigo chip that supports the 802.11a protocol in the 5GHz radio band (5.15 – 5.35 GHz frequency) has now entered full production, according to the company.

Intersil claims that PRISM Indigo has a $35 bill of materials (BOM) per chip. Intersil spokesman Ron Paciello says, “From all the info we can get, that’s the lowest we find for 11a. We firmly believe that $35 is the best price today — but we can’t guarantee tomorrow.”

PRISM Indigo is Intersil’s first foray into the higher speeds of 802.11a, which supports up to 54Mbps (higher with some proprietary tweaks on other chips).

Like other 802.11a chipsets, the three-chip PRISM Indigo uses the Orthogonal-Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) modulation scheme. The company has a CardBus (32-bit PCMCIA interface) reference design ready to go, including device drivers, security and diagnostic software, and software developer’s kit (SDK) for OEM customization. A miniPCI reference design should be available in November.

The Indigo chipset reference design includes the ISL3687 Radio Frequency to Intermediate Frequency (RF/IF) Converter, the ISL3787 IF to Baseband Converter (IF/BB) and the ISL3877 Baseband Processor/Medium Access Controller (BBP/MAC). It will support variable data rates of 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 54 Mbps.

Next month Intersil will begin sampling on the four-chip PRISM Duette, a dual-band 802.11a/g chipset (backwards compatible with 802.11b) that it also first announced in June, as well as the PRISM GT chipset for 802.11g (and again backwards compatible to 11b). Paciello says full production of this next generation of GT chips should commence in early 2003. GT was first announced in January.

Intersil is not alone in bringing 802.11g products to market early. Atheros’s AR5001X combo WLAN chips are shipping in volume to customers now and will reportedly start showing up in products this fall.

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