Broadcom Ships Industry’s First 54 Mbps, 2.4 GHz Wireless LAN Solutions

11/19/2002 - Broadcom, the leading provider of integrated circuits enabling broadband communications, announced that it is shipping its new wireless local area networking (LAN) technology that enables 54 megabit per second (Mbps) communications compatible with 802.11b Wi-FiTM networks. 54gTM is Broadcom’s 54 Mbps implementation of the draft specification for IEEE 802.11g wireless networks. It is 802.11b-compliant, Wi-Fi certifiable, and provides laptops, handheld computers and other devices with wireless connectivity at nearly five times the speed of existing technologies operating in the 2.4 GHz radio frequency range, while providing backwards compatibility to the base of more than 30 million installed Wi-Fi (802.11b) devices.

“54g will quickly become the leading technology for wireless local area networking. This technology, specified in the IEEE 802.11g draft standard, will also catalyze significant market growth,” said Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III, President and CEO of Broadcom Corporation. “Broadcom is the first vendor to ship 802.11g technology in both 2.4 GHz single-band and 5 GHz/2.4 GHz dual-band products. As a result, we believe our customers will be in a strong position to deliver superior solutions to all segments of the wireless LAN market.”

Broadcom’s new offering is a two-chip, all CMOS solution that employs a direct conversion architecture and is the most integrated, highest performing 2.4 GHz solution available in the industry. The new Broadcom® BCM4306 baseband/MAC (media access controller) chip combines with the BCM2050 2.4 GHz radio to enable 54 Mbps connectivity in the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band.

In addition to these new chips, previously announced Broadcom solutions will also support 54g. The BCM4309 is a dual-band baseband/MAC solution that supports the 802.11b, 54g and 802.11a standards across worldwide frequency bands. The BCM4702 wireless network processor will support 54g devices, as well as 802.11a/b/54g dual-band solutions. Broadcom has delivered single-band and dual-band 54g silicon and complete reference designs to major wireless LAN industry vendors who will announce their product portfolios shortly.

54 Mbps at 2.4 GHz Hits the Market Sweet Spot
“Broadcom customers are eager to integrate this next generation 54g technology into their products because it provides higher speed, better range and backwards compatibility at the lowest possible cost,” said Jeff Thermond, Vice President of Broadcom’s Home and Wireless Networking Business Unit. “In addition, because our MAC and software architecture are common across our entire AirForceTM product line, our customers can bring 54g products to market quickly.”

54g provides consumers the benefits of higher speed and greater capacity for a small price premium over 802.11b and adds user capacity to deployments in public places. While some early adopters have seen the benefit of a 54 Mbps data rate in 802.11a products, 54g access points provide up to 2.5 times the high-speed area coverage, and up to 8 times the total area coverage of an 802.11a access point. This enables significant savings to enterprise customers, who can now place single-band or dual-band 54 Mbps access points in the same density as 802.11b access points. “This technology hits the sweet spot of the wireless LAN market,” said Alan Nogee of market research firm In-Stat/MDR. “We expect the market will rapidly shift to high speed solutions at 2.4 GHz.”

Higher Speeds and Interoperability Today
Broadcom’s 54g technology allows consumers and enterprise customers to take advantage today of technology to be incorporated in the forthcoming IEEE 802.11g specification. The 802.11g draft standard specifies the same OFDM modulation technology and data rates found in IEEE 802.11a, but with transmission in the same 2.4 GHz radio frequency band as the 802.11b standard. 54g implements the latest draft of the specification and meets even the highest optional performance requirement specified. As its name suggests, 54g performs at 54 Mbps; the 802.11g draft specification only requires 24 Mbps performance.

In advance of formal approval of the IEEE 802.11g standard and the anticipated Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability procedure, Broadcom is providing a 54g interoperability program to system vendors. Thus end-users can purchase faster wireless LAN products with the confidence that wireless LAN notebooks, PC cards, access points, cable and DSL modems and routers will work together.

AirForce, the Industry’s Broadest Wireless LAN Technology Portfolio
The introduction of 54g technology adds to Broadcom’s AirForce family of products, expanding Broadcom’s lead in providing the broadest product portfolio in the wireless LAN industry. Broadcom provides single and multi-functional integrated circuits that enable end-to-end wireless LAN solutions. The portfolio includes radio, baseband/MAC, wireless network processor, cable modem and DSL silicon as well as client and infrastructure reference designs that enable business and consumer solutions. The BCM4306 also includes a V.92 voice band modem and a glueless interface that connects to Broadcom’s family of BluetoothTM products and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) mobile communications products.

Broadcom’s high performance wireless LAN solutions enjoy unique advantages due to their patent-pending SmartRadioTM technology. AirForce radio products are capable of continuous calibration that tunes the wireless LAN radio on the fly, providing optimal performance. SmartRadio solutions also employ wireless echo reduction, which uses sophisticated equalization techniques to improve delay spread tolerance in environments with complex surfaces, such as partitioned offices, airports and homes. In addition, Broadcom’s 54g and 802.11a/54g solutions use advanced OFDM, which improves throughput by dynamically adapting to radio noise conditions during the signal decoding process.

Security, Software and Power Consumption Aimed at Enterprise Customers
Broadcom’s new solutions provide the enhanced features, performance and software drivers required for the demanding enterprise WLAN market. The software has been extensively tested in system verification test labs at Broadcom and at customer sites. The BCM4306 and the BCM4309 incorporate hardware support for WEP and AES and system support for the leading security protocols, WPA, TKIP and 802.1x, and software can be upgraded to the forthcoming 802.11i security standard.

All AirForce solutions use OneDriverTM software, significantly reducing development time for products across all 802.11 signaling standards. OneDriverTM software blends seamlessly with Microsoft Corporation’s Zero-ConfigurationTM driver for wireless LANs, with added diagnostic capability for Windows® XPTM users, and a common look and feel for legacy Microsoft® operating systems.

The BCM2050 and BCM4306 are currently in volume production. Complete system reference designs for 54g cardbus, mini PCI, access point and wireless router products are currently available.

About Broadcom
Broadcom Corporation is the leading provider of highly integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband communications and networking of voice, video and data services. Using proprietary technologies and advanced design methodologies, Broadcom designs, develops and supplies complete system-on-a-chip solutions and related hardware and software applications for every major broadband communications market. Our diverse product portfolio includes solutions for digital cable and satellite set-top boxes; cable and DSL modems and residential gateways; high-speed transmission and switching for local, metropolitan and wide area networking; home and wireless networking; cellular and terrestrial wireless communications; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gateway and telephony systems; broadband network processors; and SystemI/OTM server solutions. These technologies and products support our core mission: Connecting everything®. Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and may be contacted at 1-949-450-8700.

Broadcom®, the pulse logo, Connecting everything®, 54gTM, AirForceTM, OneDriverTM, SmartRadioTM and SystemI/OTM are trademarks of Broadcom Corporation and/or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries. Wi-FiTM is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Inc. BluetoothTM is a trademark of the Bluetooth SIG.

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