3/16/2005 - Athena Semiconductors Inc. announced a family of Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFICs) to serve emerging wireless WiMax and WiBro broadband applications. The first two devices available in the product family are the ATS9050 and ATS9020, and other devices are being planned. These devices are highly integrated RF transceiver ICs to serve IEEE 802.16 standards-based WiMax and WiBro applications. The ATS90xx devices incorporate breakthrough levels of integration allowing for low cost deployments of both fixed wireless and mobile applications based on WiMax and WiBro standards.
The high performance specifications of the ATS90xx devices allow deployment in the harshest of environments for outdoors applications. Unlike wireless local area networks, outdoor broadband deployments, which are cornerstones of WiMax and WiBro capabilities, require the RF transceivers to meet specifications that are tougher to implement in low cost chips. ATS90xx chips have excellent phase noise characteristics independent of channel spacing, very clean transmit characteristics in terms of the error vector magnitude (EVM) and wide receive dynamic range due to very low noise figure and high linearity.
Athena Semiconductors has been able to achieve breakthrough performance on the tough specifications of WiMax/WiBro in a standard Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) process by deploying its OptimRFTM technology. The ability to gain this performance in standard CMOS technology will enable lower price points across the board – from designers to customers. Athena’s OptimRF technology allows tighter calibration of RF transceivers during power up. Athena has successfully used the OptimRF technology in a variety of products addressing different wireless standards applications. The company has quickly established itself as a leading innovator in CMOS RF technology, for example by previously unveiling other WLAN and Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO) chipset solutions.
The ATS9050 is a complete RF transceiver that can support either WiMax or WiBro applications. The ATS9020 device serves only the WiBro standard offering an even lower cost alternative. The ATS90xx devices have advanced frequency synthesizers that allow any arbitrary center frequency with a resolution of 200Hz. The devices also have highly programmable channel bandwidths supporting channels up to 40MHz. The ATS9050 chip covers the frequency bands of 2.3-2.5GHz, 4.9-5.35GHz and 5.47-5.85Ghz and ATS9020 covers the 2.3-2.5GHz band. Initial WiMax deployments are expected in the 5.725-5.85GHz UNII band and the WiBro applications will be deployed in the 2.3-2.4GHz band. ATS90xx devices can be easily combined with baseband chips to produce complete wireless broadband solutions.
“We are extremely pleased to extend our OptimRF technology to serve the emerging wireless broadband market,” said Pratap Reddy, President of Athena Semiconductors. “The ATS90xx is a product that further showcases Athena Semiconductors’ technology leadership in CMOS RFICs. WiMax and WiBro represent potentially huge markets, and our ATS90xx devices provide a low cost alternative to today’s solutions. We are working with partners that are developing complete solutions for wireless broadband applications.”
Both ATS90xx devices are currently being sampled. ATS9020 devices are also available in production quantities. ATS9050 device will be available in production quantities in the second quarter of 2005. Pricing will vary by quantity and configurations.
The WiMAX Forum seeks to make WiMAX a standards-based technology that enables alternative delivery of last mile wireless broadband access. As an alternative to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or Cable broadband access methods, WiMAX promises to provide fixed , nomadic, portable and, eventually, mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station. WiMAX Forum CertifiedTM systems promise to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps per channel for fixed and portable access applications stemming from typical cell radius deployments of three to 10 kilometers. Such capabilities are enough to simultaneously support hundreds of businesses with T-1 speed connectivity and thousands of residences with DSL speed connectivity. A usual mobile network cell radius deployment of up to three kilometers can provide up to 15 Mbps. WiMAX technology also holds a promise for deployments in applications such as notebook computers and PDAs, allowing greater portable outdoor broadband wireless access. More information about WiMax can be found at www.wimaxforum.org.
WiBro is a mobile broadband access technology being developed for and deployed in South Korea. It’s expected to offer download speeds of 1 Mbps to devices traveling at speeds up to 60 kmph. WiBro is based on the IEEE 802.16e technical standard. The focus of WiBro is mobile Internet access while WiMax focuses on both fixed and mobile access solutions. The technology will be deployed in the 2.3-2.4GHz bands and has been licensed to a group of three service providers. Commercial launch of WiBro services is expected during the middle of 2006.
About Athena Semiconductors
Athena Semiconductors, Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company delivering system-on-a-chip solutions for the global wireless broadband market. The company’s standards-based products enable the delivery of wireless broadband voice, video and data services with Quality of Service capabilities to ensure high reliability. Athena’s corporate headquarters are in Fremont, California and design centers are located in Athens, Greece and Bangalore, India. The company’s global team has strong CMOS RF, Digital Signal Processor (DSP), networking IC and software expertise to deliver its high performance products to the wireless Local-, Wide- and Personal-Area-Network (LAN, WAN and PAN) markets. Athena’s competitive advantages are leveraged from providing lower-cost, higher performance devices using unique methods and technologies such as its OptimRFTM technology. Athena Semiconductors has raised multiple rounds of funding from leading venture capitalists and organizations including Alliance Venture Management, Needham Capital Partners, Samsung Electronics Company and KGI partners. More information about Athena Semiconductors can be found at www.athenasemi.com.
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