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CONEXANT/KAWASAKI UNVEIL CHIPSET FOR HOME NETWORKING PRODUCTS.

Conexant Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CNXT) and Kawasaki LSI have unveiled a chipset for home networking products that consumers can plug directly into a computer's Universal Serial Bus port, without having to open their PCs, install adapter cards or worry about which serial port or IRQ to use.

Conexant is expanding its LANfinity family of multifunction home networking chips to address both current and future home connectivity applications. The new USB chipset combines the two companies' industry-leading expertise in home networking and USB connectivity. Both companies will offer the two-chip solution initially for 1 Mbps consumer home networking products that can be plugged directly into a computer's USB port (see fact sheet).

Conexant has also announced that it will offer a 10 Mbps solution by the end of the year, and has cross-licensed its home networking technologies with Epigram Inc..

"The vision of the home networking industry is to enable low-cost consumer products and the easiest network set-up possible, no new wires, and no difficult hardware installation work," said James Muth, product line manager for Conexant's Personal Computing Division. "USB-based solutions like the Conexant/Kawasaki chip set will help give users the easy-to-install products they've been waiting for."

"This is a marriage of connectivity and communications with significant benefits to the home and small office user in the form of ease-of-use, set-up, performance and reduced cost," said Joel Silverman, vice president of marketing for Kawasaki LSI Inc. "Connectivity and communications are complementary as each becomes more valuable with the addition of the other."

Home networking technology gives multiple Home PC users simultaneous access to the Internet without the expense of additional phone line charges and Internet Service Provider subscriber fees. Connected PC and Internet appliance users also can play networked games or share home networked printers, peripherals, files and applications, all using existing wiring and without interrupting standard phone service. Cahners In-Stat Group estimates that more than 20 million U.S. households will have multiple PCs this year alone.

Conexant Systems Inc. is the $1.2 billion company created when Rockwell International spun off its semiconductor systems business to shareowners in December 1998. Conexant is an independent company that provides semiconductor products for communications electronics. The company aligns its business into five product platforms: Personal Computing, Personal Imaging, Wireless Communications, Digital Infotainment and Network Access. With more than 30 years of experience in developing analog modem technology, the company leverages its expertise in mixed-signal processing and communications technology to deliver integrated systems and semiconductor products for a broad range of communications applications. These products facilitate communications worldwide through wireline voice and data communications networks, cordless and cellular wireless telephony systems, and emerging cable and wireless broadband communications networks.

LANFINITY FACT SHEET

Conexant's USB LANfinity home networking semiconductor solution

OVERVIEW:

Conexant Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CNXT) and Kawasaki LSI have created a comprehensive chipset solution for low-cost, easy-to-install 1 Mbps home networking products. The two companies' chips provide the core technology for home networking products that consumers can plug directly into a computer's Universal Serial Bus port, without having to open their PCs, install adapter cards or worry about which serial port or IRQ to use. Conexant and Kawasaki will each sell their chips to PC and networking-peripheral manufacturers, and will also offer a jointly developed reference design.

ADVANTAGES:

Conexant and Kawasaki estimate that consumer products using their USB chipset solution will be sold for street prices ranging from $70 to $80. The only other alternatives for external solutions use the PC's parallel port and are generally sold for street prices in the $150 to $200 range.

DETAILS:

Conexant's first LANfinity products, introduced in October 1998, have used a high-performance Peripheral Component Interconnect media access controller. To enable significantly easier home-network system installation, Conexant and Kawasaki LSI have combined Conexant's LANfinity physical-layer front-end device and Kawasaki's USB MAC. The total solution includes:

-- Conexant's CN7221 Home LAN physical-layer interface and analog front end (PHY/AFE): this 3.3v solution is fully compliant with industry-standard Home Phoneline Networking Alliance 1.0 specifications. It offers the industry's most compact, 32-pin TQFP package size and is cost-optimized for home-networking applications, eliminating as much as $4 to $5 in bill-of-materials costs as compared to home-networking solutions that use a discrete AFE.

-- Kawasaki LSI's KL5KUSB111 USB-to-HomePNA controller: enables connection from the USB host to the HomePNA 1.0 specification at 1Mbps. For faster data access, it can also scale up to 10 Mbps because of the controller's 10BaseT Ethernet link, which consists of an on-chip MAC (IEEE802.3) and PHY interface. It includes a USB transceiver, serial interface engine, 16-bit RISC CPU with internal RAM and ROM, 1Mbps HomePNA MAC, 10MHz Ethernet MAC and PHY interface. The RISC CPU is specifically designed for USB transaction and control data processing with direct access to the MAC registers.

-- Device drivers: includes all associated PHY/AFE and MAC drivers for Win98, WinNT4.x and WinNT5.0.

PRICE, PACKAGING AND AVAILABILITY:

Conexant's CN7221 Home LAN PHY/AFE chip is packaged in a 32-pin TQFP and priced at $5.95 in OEM quantities of 10,000. It is available in sample quantities. Kawasaki's KL57SB111 chip is available in sample quantities, packaged in a 100-pin LQFP, and priced at $15 in OEM quantities of 10,000. Kawasaki will begin shipping the chip in volume in the second calendar quarter of 1999.

MARKET BACKGROUND:

-- HOME NETWORKING: According to the market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group (Phoenix), home-networking products are expected to grow into a $1.4 billion business in four years. A key to market growth is the pricing and convenience of consumer home-networking products. "The whole point of home networking is that it be as simple and as painless as possible for the consumer," said Michael Wolf, an analyst with Cahners In-Stat Group. "If the industry is going to promote the convenience of not having to install any new wiring, it can't then expect the consumer to tear apart all their computers to install adapter cards. Using today's very popular USB port is the most cost-effective solution for true plug-and-play simplicity for home-networking technology."

-- USB: USB was developed by PC and telephone industry leaders to dramatically simplify peripheral integration. With USB, the system detects when devices are added or removed, and automatically assigns host resources without user intervention and without having to re-boot the computer. From one USB host, it is possible to connect up to 127 peripherals. Nearly all computers shipped since mid-1997 come equipped with a USB port, and Cahners In-Stat estimates that nearly 400 million PC peripherals will support USB by 2002.

For more information, call 949/483-1148.
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Comment:CONEXANT/KAWASAKI UNVEIL CHIPSET FOR HOME NETWORKING PRODUCTS.
Publication:Networks Update
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 1999
Words:1096
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