More Blue 802.11

By Eric Griffith

November 04, 2002

Bluetooth and 802.11b combination products get another boost from two new announcements today, one module a module from Taiwan, the other a chipset from Mobilian.

Wireless chipset and software maker Mobilian of Hillsboro, OR, has announced a combination Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chipset called Mobilian TrueRadio.

TrueRadio is a two-chip set with one integrated baseband/MAC for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and an analog chip with dual radio for up-down conversion. They're built using Mobilian's Sim-OP technology that lets dual radios operate simultaneously without interference. Sim-Op uses "Deferred Transmission," a MAC-based switching method for control of network traffic with "Active Cancellation," an echo cancellation technique to get rid of noise from adjacent signals.

TrueRadio will support the Bluetooth and 802.11b specifications and uses hardware based wired equivalent privacy (WEP) encryption to avoid a performance hit on 802.11 networks. The bill of materials cost for a TrueRadio card is expected to hit around $35.

Also today, Taiwanese motherboard maker Micro-Star International (MSI) has released a module for one of its own motherboards with similar technologies built in.

CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) of Cambridge, England, makes the BlueCore chip that powers Bluetooth part of the 802.11b/Bluetooth module that works exclusively with the 845PE Max2 motherboard from MSI. The company had previously built in Bluetooth-only support with separate transceiving modules (PCI Cards with antennas) and USB keys for several of its motherboards

These companies are not, of course, the first to try and meld the world of WLANs and PANs (Personal Area Networks) together. Intersil and SiliconeWave have used a technology they call Blue802 to create a reference design that supports both 802.11b and Bluetooth on the same miniPCI card with two chips and two antennas for a cost of materials around $50.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.



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