Bermai's Chip will be "Ultra Integrated"

By Eric Griffith

May 03, 2002

New 54Mbps chip design allows plug in of 802.11b (and eventually 802.11g) to create combo designs to support current and future WLAN equipment.

On Tuesday next week, Bermai, Inc. of Palo Alto, CA, will announce from Networld+Interop in Las Vegas the BER7211a, its OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) radio on a single CMOS chip for 54Mbps 802.11a networks.

Bermai's system-on-chip technology has a "plug-in" interface for existing 802.11b solutions (and eventually 802.11g when ratified and available), creating combination support of multiple WLAN standards. "On this chip is everything that's required to run a combo a/b [system]," says Bruce Sanguinetti, Bermai president and CEO.

Bermai's 802.11a support will include a 72Mbps "speed-mode" when used in a single channel.

The CMOS OFDM chip includes the media access controller (MAC) and the entire transceiver. Bermai claims the level of "ultra integration" on the chip, as well as the cheaper production costs in the CMOS process, will lead to a much lower cost of materials that will be passed on to customers. The chip will have a reduced power consumption to save on battery life for mobile devices.

The technology will initially be offered in four reference design configurations: a CardBus 802.11a card, CardBus 802.11a/b combo, a mini-PCI interface 802.11a/b combo, and a developer's kit for PCI cards with 802.11a. Pricing is expected to be under $35 in quantities of 10,000. Production will begin by the end of the third quarter of 2002.

Bermai is also working with Archtek/BMI of Taiwan on combo 802.11a/b solutions including PCI cards and USB adapters for OEM customers.

Founded in March 2001, Bermai is venture capital backed from a $15 million first round in March 2002. This month they received the Investors' Choice Award from Technologic Partners Wireless Ventures conference, which highlights companies developing wireless services and technology.

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