D-Link Moves to Texas (Instruments)

By Eric Griffith

May 14, 2002

The announcement that the networking giant would standardize its 802.11b products on TI's ACX100 processor had the chip maker's stock up, but left Intersil with a droop.

The Texas Instruments (TI) ACX100 chip will become the backbone of Irvine, CA-based D-Link's next generation line of 2.4GHz 802.11b products, the D-LinkAir Series.

The announcement has already started rumors of more pressure for 802.11b-chip leader Intersil, a company that will enter the Standard & Poor's MidCap 400 Index tonight. Intersil was the previous provider of 802.11b chips for D-Link.

"This is a really big announcement. D-Link was one of Intersil's biggest customers in volume," says Aaron Vance, Industry Analyst at Synergy Research Group. "The fact that D-Link has gone a different direction is a big hit."

Michael in D-Link press relations said the decision to go with TI's chip over Intersil was based on the performance increase customers and the price savings they can pass on to consumers.

TI's Wi-Fi compliant ACX100 is a firmware-upgradeable, single-chip WLAN medium access controller (MAC) that interfaces directly with a product's 2.4GHz radio. It offers a 22Mbps data rate when used with other products using the ACX100, and reportedly provides better throughput and coverage.

"The ACX100...was designed for 'real world' home and office environments," says TI spokesperson Marisa Speziale. "It handles the effects of walls, floors and ceilings exceptionally well due to a combination of superior multi-path tolerance and an exceptional receiver technology implementation. Based on these advantages, D-Link's products will show much more consistent performance, as well as a 20-30% throughput advantage versus other 802.11b products at greater distances."

TI first announced a reference design using the ACX100 in June 2001. The chip is also used in products from US Robotics and Melco (Buffalo Technology). Texas Instrument's stock was up this morning on news of 10% revenue growth in the second quarter of 2002.

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