Broadcom Introduces New Bluetooth + Wi-Fi Combo Solution

By Naomi Graychase

June 03, 2009

Broadcom Corporation announced Tuesday three new Bluetooth + Wi-Fi modules designed for notebook PCs and netbooks.

Broadcom Corporation announced Tuesday three new Bluetooth + Wi-Fi modules designed for notebook PCs and netbooks.

The new InConcert modules (BCM94312HMGB, BCM943225HMB, BCM943224HMB) combine Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips in a half mini-card, the smallest form factor available. With two competing radios on the 2.4GHz spectrum in such a tight space, coexistence issues are inevitable. But, says Broadcom, its InConcert technology resolves RF conflicts in such a way that end users will experience no latency or artifacts, even with stereo audio or mousing.

“Since our module contains our Wi-Fi and our Bluetooth, we can make them talk together more efficiently, so we can manage who’s transmitting when. We can optimize the performance of both. Other competitors use a standard three-wire interface. Ours goes above and beyond that. Three-wire doesn’t quite give the level of performance as a standalone Wi-Fi chip; ours brings it up to just about what you could get if you didn’t have Wi-Fi in there at all,” Kevin Muraki, Senior Product Line Magazine, Broadcom WLAN team told Wi-Fi Planet. “With wireless LAN and Bluetooth working together, if I’m on the Internet streaming files or downloading and I have a wireless mouse or keyboard, you want it all to work seamlessly, no delays or jitters on the mouse. Performance can lag without InConcert.”

Broadcom’s offering is a clear response to the growing demand for netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs). Integrated wireless connectivity has become a must-have feature for consumers. The combo solution enables PC vendors to utilize smaller, more cost-effective platforms.

“As size shrinks, with the cost in mind, the combo solution solves a near and dear problem. Today wireless LAN and Bluetooth occupy two cards in the platform in various places. The combo we’ve announced allows you to take two modules and put them on the one size, eliminating one module completely. It takes advantage of integration, based on our building blocks, our wireless LAN 11g and 11n chips and the Bluetooth single-chip solution. And also because we’re integrating into a single half-mini-card we can eliminate and share some of the common components,” says Muraki.

The three new InConcert modules deliver different levels of Wi-Fi performance to serve vendors with products with varied usage models and price points. All of the modules feature Broadcom’s BCM2070 Bluetooth 3.0 + High Speed (HS) transceiver.

The BCM94312HMGB combines Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11g. The BCM943225HMB combines Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11n in the 2.4 GHz band. The BCM943224HMB combines Bluetooth 3.0 and dual-band 802.11n.

The modules all use a single antenna system for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transmissions.

“Another key factor in reducing cost and size is the industrial design,” says Muraki. “The antennas that we can eliminate with our shared antenna technology, which is part of the wireless LAN/Bluetooth coexistence, cuts down on platform costs.”

Broadcom says the simplified product design and reduces the combined rest of bill of materials (RBOM) cost by up to 25 percent.

The chips support a substantial library of Bluetooth profiles to enable Bluetooth applications on a Windows or Linux-based system. InConcert modules also include Broadcom’s OneDriver software, which provides performance, security, and features.

Broadcom is now sampling the BCM94312HMGB, BCM943225HMB, and BCM943224HMB modules and expects to begin shipping production volumes 3Q09.

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-Fi Planet. She has been covering personal and business technology since 1994. Follow her on Twitter (@WiFiPlanet).

Originally published on .

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