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ATHEROS EXPANDS PERFORMANCE WITH FIRST DRAFT 802.11N.

Atheros Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHR), Santa Clara, Calif., a developer of advanced wireless solutions, has launched its XSPAN(TM) family of wireless LAN (WLAN) technologies and the AR5008, the first series of chipsets to deliver XSPAN benefits. The AR5008 solutions, demonstrated at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), are the first to be based on the draft 802.11n specification confirmed recently by the IEEE. These next-generation WLAN solutions will exploit the full potential of MIMO technology by delivering breakthrough performance and industry interoperability. The AR5008 solutions deliver six times the throughput of 802.11g and 802.11a/g products at extended range and with greater reliability. With the 802.11n draft specification now in place, consumers will at last enjoy the benefits of interoperable MIMO technology across a broad range of devices and applications in the home and office as well as on the go.

XSPAN(TM) with Signal-Sustain Technology(TM)

With XSPAN, Atheros once again leads the industry in innovation by introducing Signal-Sustain Technology(TM) (SST), which unleashes the full potential of MIMO to significantly enhance signal reliability and throughput at range. This is achieved through the world's first single-chip triple-radio RF design. The AR5008 delivers up to 300 megabits-per-second (Mbps) physical data rate with real end-user throughput of 150 to 180 Mbps, and achieves, on average, 50 percent greater sustained throughput at range than 2x2 MIMO systems.

Signal Sustain Technology (SST) dramatically increases link robustness and throughput by simultaneously transmitting across three spatially-diverse signal paths, and incorporating information from three receivers simultaneously within the signal processing at the receiver. Such robustness cannot be achieved by simply switching a smaller number of simultaneous transmitters between additional antennas. Atheros' integration of three complete RF transmit and receive chains into a single chip, together with the inclusion of the SST processing in the baseband, enables unmatched range and robustness at price points comparable to less robust, competitive 2x2 MIMO solutions.

"With XSPAN, Atheros has leveraged its outstanding integration and RF design capabilities to maximize the potential of the draft 802.11n specification," said Craig Barratt, president and chief executive officer of Atheros Communications. "Our unique triple-radio design elevates wireless LAN performance to a level that will be hard to match at price points that will encourage rapid adoption of this new, exciting technology."

XSPAN Delivers the Wireless Triple Play

The Atheros AR5008 chipsets are the company's highest performance wireless LAN solutions to date. The family of products leverages all of the mandatory technical elements contained in the draft 802.11n specification, as well as several optional features, to deliver the ultimate wireless triple play experience for video, voice and data transmission throughout a home or office.

-- Video: With real world throughput levels up to 180 Mbps, new wireless routers and gateways featuring XSPAN with Signal-Sustain Technology will readily accommodate multiple high-definition (HD) streams on a single home network.

-- Voice: Single-antenna wireless voice handsets and legacy devices networked to Atheros-based access points achieve range and robustness from Atheros' triple transmitter architecture. Atheros SST increases the total transmit power and spatial redundancy, ensuring dropout-free coverage.

-- Data: The array of data applications ranging from simple network computing to transmission of large data, music or image files is enhanced through the high bandwidth provided by XSPAN products.

"With the approval of a draft standard by the IEEE 802.11n Task Group last week, it's more clear than ever that MIMO is the most important radio technology today -- and perhaps ever," said Craig J. Mathias, a Principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group (Ashland, MA). "Successful MIMO products will cover a range of price points and applications, build upon the success of wireless LANs to date, and finally level any remaining barriers to wireless LANs becoming the default network connectivity for essentially everyone."

Atheros AR5008 Solutions

The Atheros AR5008 series of two-chip solutions is based on the world's only triple-radio chip paired with a baseband and Media Access Controller (MAC) chip. The AR5008 series supports PCI and PCIe (PCI Express(TM)) host interfaces. The chipset solutions are comprised of the following:

-- Baseband/MACs

-- AR5416 -- with PCI host interface

-- AR5418 -- with PCI Express host interface

-- Triple Radios

-- AR2133 (3 Tx, 3 Rx, single-band 2.4 GHz)

-- AR5133 (3 Tx, 3 Rx, dual-band 2.4/5GHz)

Atheros also provides its customers with end-to-end reference designs for wireless access points and routers, CardBus and Mini Card adapters. With its highly scalable architecture, Atheros' technology is available in multiple configuration options, including 2x2, 2x3 and 3x3, offering physical data rates up to 600 Mbps and supporting a wide range of market segments and wireless applications.

The Atheros Advantage

The new 802.11n draft specification defines an array of technical elements that Atheros is uniquely qualified to deliver.

-- 2.4/5 GHz Dual-band Operation: Industry experts concur that 2.4/5 GHz dual-band operation will be fundamental to 802.11n devices. Atheros has been shipping dual-band products since 2002 and has unique experience in achieving worldwide regulatory approval in the 5 GHz band.

-- 40 MHz Channel Mode Operation, Packet Aggregation and Packet Bursting: In 2003 Atheros commercialized products containing 40 MHz channel mode operation, packet aggregation and packet bursting with its highly successful Super G(R) and Super AG(R) technologies.

-- Transmit Beamforming and Maximal Ratio Combining (MRC): Atheros began shipping its first-generation MIMO solutions in 2004, which feature transmit beamforming, smart antenna and maximal ratio combining (MRC), and has achieved significant MIMO market share with end-products based on Atheros' solutions.

-- Leading Integration: Atheros' integration leadership has been proven repeatedly. It was the first company to launch a single-chip 802.11g device and a single-chip 2.4/5 GHz dual-band device, and now, with the new AR2133 and AR5133, Atheros is the first to launch a single chip with three complete transmitters and receivers.

The company's proven track record of innovation and commercial success with technologies contained in the 802.11n draft is unmatched in the industry and ensures Atheros customers a low risk, rapid path to market with products based on the new 802.11n draft specification.

Atheros is currently sampling the AR5008 chipset to its customers.

About Atheros Communications, Inc.

Atheros Communications is a leading developer of semiconductor system solutions for wireless communications products. Atheros combines its wireless systems expertise with high-performance radio frequency (RF), mixed signal and digital semiconductor design skills to provide highly integrated chipsets that are manufacturable on low-cost, standard complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processes. Atheros technology is being used by a broad base of leading customers, including personal computer, networking equipment and handset manufacturers.

For more information, visit http://www.atheros.com or call 408/773-5216.
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Publication:LAN Product News
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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