WWiSE Consortium Unveils Complete Proposal for IEEE 802.11 Task Group

8/13/2004 - A consortium of companies collaborating under the moniker "WWiSE" announced their intended submission of a complete joint proposal to the IEEE 802.11 Task Group N (TGn), which is chartered with developing a next-generation Wi-Fi standard capable of sustaining data throughput in excess of 100Mbps. The technology foundation is based on MIMO-OFDM. IEEE 802.11n will be an especially important standard in the WLAN market as it will build upon and extend the capabilities for the vast number of users currently enjoying the benefits of Wi-Fi connectivity. Companies within the WWiSE consortium that contributed to the proposal are Airgo Networks, Bermai, Broadcom, Conexant Systems, Inc., STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

"WWiSE" stands for worldwide spectrum efficiency, a key element for all proposals submitted to Task Group N. As such, the WWiSE proposal was developed with global deployment and backwards compatibility with all other Wi-Fi standards as its principal and mandatory requirements. Additional considerations included data-rate compliance with worldwide regulatory requirements in important regional markets such as Japan. The proposal also offers a royalty-free license option from the WWiSE companies. Such license options are designed to facilitate the worldwide deployment of 802.11n technology.

The WWiSE proposal builds on the existing and globally adopted 20MHz channel format of the tens of millions of Wi-Fi devices already in use. This approach ensures support for the existing worldwide installed base, while improving the performance of Wi-Fi networks within the designated RF spectrum. Further, the coalition companies represent an important cross-section of both the IC supply and consumption segments that comprise the Wi-Fi marketplace, promoting a strong relationship between developers and end-product manufacturers.

Highlights of the WWiSE proposal
The technical aspects of the WWiSE proposal mark a significant improvement in the capability of 802.11 implementations. Key features include:

  1. Mandatory use of the approved, pre-existing, worldwide 20MHz Wi-Fi channel width, assuring immediate applicability and deployment in all regulatory jurisdictions.
  2. Enhanced MIMO-OFDM technology is key to achieving a maximum data rate of 135 Mbps in the minimum mandatory 2x2 configuration and a single 20MHz channel to keep implementation costs low, while greatly improving upon simple antenna additions or channel bonding schemes.
  3. Rates up to 540 Mbps, accomplished with a 4x4 MIMO structure and 40MHz channel width (where permissible by regulatory bodies), provide a roadmap for future devices and applications.
  4. Mandatory modes affording backwards compatibility and interoperability with existing Wi-Fi devices in the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands to ensure strong support of legacy deployments.
  5. Advanced forward-error-correction coding option to facilitate maximum coverage and range, applicable in all MIMO configurations and channel bandwidths.

Intellectual Property (IP) Position of WWiSE Contributors
The contributing member companies of WWiSE have jointly agreed to specific IP licensing terms for their proposal. Under IEEE requirements, all proposal submissions to TGn must be made under acceptance of RAND licensing (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms to all parties. WWiSE contributing companies fully comply with this requirement. In addition, if the WWiSE proposal is selected as the 802.11n standard, these companies have further agreed that reciprocal RAND-Z licenses (RAND under Zero royalty) to their essential IP will be available to any party upon request.

Under this agreement, which is not a patent pool, but a reciprocal royalty-free individual license option, WWiSE member companies will not charge developers for an 802.11n license for their respective patent claims that are essential to implementing the standard. This will lower costs for developers, manufacturers and consumers. It is not necessary to be a contributor to the WWiSE proposal in order to take advantage of this license offer, which is expected to gain considerable support among the Wi-Fi product developer community.

Further information about WWiSE, the WWiSE proposal to IEEE 802.11 TGn and the WWiSE IP statement may be found at http://www.wwise.org.

About Airgo Networks, Inc.
Airgo Networks develops breakthrough technology and Wireless LAN (WLAN) products that enhance existing applications and enable new applications by substantially improving the quality and convenience of the WLAN user experience. Airgo has led the Wi-Fi industry movement to standardize MIMO OFDM technology. The team at Airgo was the first to publish the theoretical benefits of MIMO wireless in the mid 1990s and was the first to deliver mass market MIMO chipsets to the Wi-Fi equipment market in 2003. Airgo's chipsets, software and reference design solutions provide secure, easy-to-use, standards-compliant WLAN capabilities that work in both the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands. Airgo's products are based on the IEEE 802.11 standards and provide significant increases in throughput and coverage area performance unmatched by any other Wi-Fi devices currently available. This breakthrough wireless technology known as True MIMOTM, an enhanced signal processing version of MIMO, provides cost-effective performance for the most bandwidth-intensive applications, eliminating the need for wires at home, at work, and in public places. Founded in November 2000, the company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA; an additional development center is located in Breukelen, The Netherlands. Information about Airgo Networks technology and solutions is available at www.airgonetworks.com.

About Bermai, Inc.
Founded in March 2001, Bermai is pioneering high performance, ultra- integrated chipsets for Wi-Fi applications from Wireless LAN to wireless multimedia. Named a Red Herring 100 Finalist in 2004, Bermai is delivering a complete product portfolio of innovative single and dual-band systems, such as 802.11a, 802.11g, and 802.11a/g, that support the IEEE 802.11 family of standards. Bermai's designs offer unmatched integration and are optimized to deliver extended range and performance, power efficiency, and flexibility at a significant cost advantage. These ultra-integrated solutions greatly simplify product development and enable wireless equipment manufacturers to build high performance products faster and with dramatic cost efficiencies addressing Multimedia applications. For more information, visit www.bermai.com.

About Broadcom
Broadcom Corporation is a leading provider of highly integrated semiconductor solutions that enable broadband communications and networking of voice, video and data services. Broadcom designs, develops and supplies complete system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions incorporating digital, analog, radio frequency (RF), microprocessor and digital signal processing (DSP) technologies, as well as related hardware and software system-level applications. Its diverse product portfolio addresses every major broadband communications market and includes solutions for digital cable and satellite set-top boxes; high definition television (HDTV); cable and digital subscriber line (DSL) modems and residential gateways; high-speed transmission and switching for local, metropolitan, wide area and storage networking; home and wireless networking; cellular and terrestrial wireless communications; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gateway and telephony systems; broadband network and security processors; and SystemI/OTM server solutions. These technologies and products support the company's core mission: Connecting everything®. Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and may be contacted at 1-949-450-8700 or at www.broadcom.com.

About Conexant
Conexant's innovative semiconductor solutions are driving broadband communications, enterprise networks and digital home networks worldwide. The company has leveraged its expertise and leadership position in modem technologies to enable more Internet connections than all of its competitors combined, and continues to develop highly integrated silicon solutions for broadband data and media processing networks. Key products include client- side xDSL and cable modem solutions, home network processors, broadcast video encoders and decoders, digital set-top box components and systems solutions, and dial-up modems. Conexant's suite of networking components includes a leadership portfolio of IEEE 802.11a/b/g-compliant WLAN chipsets, software and reference designs, as well as solutions for applications based on HomePlug® and HomePNATM. The company also offers a complete line of asymmetric and symmetric DSL central office solutions, which are used by service providers worldwide to deliver broadband data, voice, and video over copper telephone lines. Conexant is a fabless semiconductor company with annual run-rate revenues of approximately $1.2 billion. The company has approximately 2,400 employees worldwide, and is headquartered in Red Bank, N.J. To learn more, please visit us at www.conexant.com.

About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2003, the Company's net revenues were $7.24 billion and net earnings were $253 million. Further information on ST can be found at http://www.st.com.

About Texas Instruments Broadband Solutions
For OEMs developing broadband communications solutions, TI's advanced signal processing-based silicon and software platforms deliver the optimal performance, lower power consumption, and system-level integration required to rapidly deploy differentiated next-generation products for cable modems, digital subscriber line (xDSL) modems, integrated access devices (IADs), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gateways, carrier infrastructure, and home and office wireless networking. See www.ti.com/broadband.

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