Chip vendor claims wireless breakthrough

Chip vendor claims wireless breakthrough

A start-up is sampling a chipset that it claims will dramatically improve the range and performance of wireless LANs, and eliminate current security problems.

Airgo Networks’ chipsets blend advances from several technologies.

The result, CEO Greg Raleigh said, would be WLAN access points with two-and-a-half to five times the range of existing products and at least two to four times the throughput of existing WLAN products.

They would also maintain throughput at longer distances, he said.

Airgo chips for 802.11a could reach 80 metres or more and support a minimum throughput of about 34Mbps. The maximum 802.11a data rate is 54Mbps, with a range at that rate of about 27m. Actual 802.11a throughput typically is in the 17 — 22Mbps range.

Those kinds of numbers, if proven, could dramatically lower WLAN installation costs by sharply cutting the number of access points that have to be installed and, most importantly, wired into the existing cable plant.

“We’ve taken what had required $US100 worth of silicon and reduced it to tens of cents,” Raleigh says.

The chips contain the full range of security standards: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), VPN termination, 802.1x authentication and Advanced Encryption Standard.

Airgo is not alone in trying to advance wireless silicon. Aether Systems, Broadcom and Intel are major players, and all are working with MIMO.

The company has signed contracts with electronics makers, and is in talks with WLAN hardware vendors.

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