AMD Debuts Tiny, Low-Power 802.11b Chipset
November 04, 2002
In addition to making both Athlon XP processors for notebook PCs and highly integrated CPUs for handheld and communications devices, AMD wants to provide wireless networking silicon for both -- and makes its debut in the WLAN market with a battery-thrifty, reduced-chip-count 802.11b chipset due to ship in the first quarter of 2003.
Company To Pursue Both WiFi OEMs and Current Notebook PC Partners
While high-end laptop PCs or deep-pocketed commercial users will move to faster 802.11a and 802.11g wireless networking by 2004, AMD predicts, today's 802.11b WiFi technology will soon be a staple of everything from PDAs and cell phones to car-dashboard information systems -- and an ultra-efficient and -compact new WiFi chipset from AMD will help make it so.
The chipmaker's Personal Connectivity Solutions group has announced sample availability of the Alchemy Solutions Am1772 WLAN chipset, plus a reference design kit for a WiFi adapter that takes only one side of a 2.8 by 1.8-inch Mini PCI card. By contrast, AMD points out, rivals like Agere Systems use both sides of a card, making the Am1772 a prime candidate for combo products and other implementations expected when production quantities ship in the first quarter of 2003.
According to the company, the two-chip Am1772 solution combines an integrated baseband processor/media access controller (MAC), with direct-memory-access (DMA) host interface and on-chip hardware acceleration to reduce the host CPU load, and a CMOS RF transceiver with no need for a separate intermediate-frequency chip. An all-digital interface between the two chips helps eliminate the need for an on-chip microcontroller and external flash memory and SRAM.