PCTEL's Soft AP to Work with PRISMs

By Eric Griffith

September 17, 2003

The software connectivity company's Segue Soft Access Module (SAM) turns PRISM GT and WorldRadio client products into access points; PRISM chip owner GlobespanVirata will help push the software.

In May, PCTEL of Chicago announced Segue SAM, a Soft Access point Module for Wi-Fi networks that would turn a client system with an 802.11 card into an access point, or what's called a "soft AP." The company had been working behind the scenes with leading Wi-Fi chip-maker Intersil to develop the product.

When Intersil sold its entire WLAN chip line to GlobespanVirata of Red Bank, N.J., this summer, that partnership traveled along with it. Now PCTEL says the two companies will make the technology available for OEMs and ODMs, any client card makers, that utilize GlobespanVirata's newly acquired PRISM GT (802.11g) or PRISM WorldRadio (dual-band 802.11a/g, formerly known as PRISM Duette when Intersil owned it).

Biju Nair, PCTEL's vice president and general manager, Wireless Products Division, says "the idea is that Globespan brings the PRISM chips, we bring the SAM software, and an OEM or ODM can purchase both to provide a solution that displaces a $120 dollar technology today." The SAM software would be offered as an upgrade to those purchasing PRISM-based client cards.

PCTEL also had the software working with Taiwanese company WavePlus, but that was only an 802.11b solution and they wanted to get it to the higher bandwidth of 802.11a/g. When asked about the software eventually working with other products using chips from leading Wi-Fi companies like Broadcom and Atheros, he says "Our plan is to make this compatible with as many chips as possible... we are in active discussions." But he says it's an issue of personnel bandwidth: the PCTEL development team can only focus on one aspect at a time.

The SAM software will take advantage of PRISM features such as the PRISM Nitro speed boost and some power saving features.

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