Atmel Announces 802.11b Media Access Controller (MAC) with Integrated Baseband for Wireless Applications

8/22/2002 - Atmel® released three new parts to its family of Wireless LAN products. This family, called Fast-VirtualNetTM, are single chip baseband Media Access Controllers (MAC) supporting three popular system interfaces: PCMCIA or Compact Flash (AT76C504), USB (AT76C505) and PCI or mini-PCI (AT76C506). The fast-VirtualNet family provides a wireless interface following the IEEE 802.11b standard and supports standard data rates up to 11 Mbps. These single-chip MAC+Baseband controllers include complete processing and functionality in order to facilitate the Wi-FiTM certification procedure for Atmel customer companies.

The AT76C504/505/506 chips incorporate an ARM7TDMI® processor using a sophisticated architecture to control the on-chip peripherals, manage the internal memory and allocate data queue buffers as well as communicate through the PCMCIA, USB or PCI buses. The architecture, now including an integrated baseband controller is similar to previously designed MAC parts. In addition to these features that are supported by Atmel's stand-alone MAC's, they also are available for the newer security standards or protocols such as 802.1x, and TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol). The Fast-VirtualNet family is provided together with various software drivers such as Win98/2000/Me, WinXP, NT 4.0, Windows CE/PocketPC and Linux. For all OS's where WHQL certification exists, the drivers provided from Atmel to Customer Companies are in a WHQL certifiable state.

These devices have a seamless interface to the RF Micro DevicesTM (RFMD) front-end chipset. Together with earlier reference designs, they retain all the key features and benefits of the previous family of products adding a lower pin count, an even more competitive Bill of Material (BOM) and more reliability and robustness due to the simplicity of the system and software. The products are being well received into the market with design wins with major OEM's, ODM's and Tier 1 companies. These designs will be shipping by the end of the year in applications such as printers, PDA's, calculators and many more.

Atmel's Product Marketing Director Richard Bisset stated," Atmel's MAC plus baseband combinations parts have provided a level of integration that has allowed our customers a path to higher performance, lower cost and lower power consumption. Our devices along with the RFMD radio chipset also allow a very small footprint. This is very important when doing designs like compact flash cards, mini-PCI cards and especially embedded WLAN modules. Atmel's roadmap also continues to show our customers a higher level of integration and feature set, allowing our customers to position themselves for the next generation WLAN products to come."

About Atmel (
Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, California with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

© Atmel Corporation 2002. All rights reserved. Atmel, the Atmel logo and combinations thereof are registered trademarks, and others contained herein are trademarks, of Atmel Corporation.

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