Industry First 802.11g Chip Set Announced

By Matthew Peretz

January 28, 2002

Intersil to bring to market reference design and production chip sets supporting 802.11g Draft Standard.

Intersil Corporation today announced the industry's first chip set designed to support the IEEE 802.11g draft standard. The Intersil PRISM GT chip set, operating in the 2.4 Ghz band, will enable data transmission speeds of up to 54 Mbps with backwards compatibility to 802.11b infrastructures. This news comes roughly two and a half months after the IEEE 802.11g Task Group finally agreed on terms for the hotly debated wireless standard.

Intersil stated that in addition to the speed increase over 802.11b, the new chip sets will have a 30 percent range advantage over 802.11a systems. The company also highlighted lower power consumption characteristics for the 802.11g chips versus 802.11a.

Intersil's PRISM GT chip set incorporates the 802.11g draft standard's mandatory modulation schemes, including Complementary Code Keying (CCK), used in 802.11b, and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), used in 802.11a transmissions. "Using CCK ensures backward-compatibility with the installed Wi-Fi base, while OFDM provides the speed required for today's high-bandwidth applications. The PRISM GT chip set is the world's first complete chip set designed for 802.11g and will catalyze the market for high speed wireless connectivity," said Larry Ciaccia, vice president and general manager of Intersil's Wireless Networking business.

The company described the new 802.11g chip set as incorporating advantages from their 802.11b chip sets, the direct down conversion process developed for PRISM 3, and the DSP expertise gained while developing 802.11a products. The solution is a transceiver with synthesizer and filters on a single chip which interfaces directly with the baseband processor. The MAC includes enhanced security and network management features. Since the transceiver is an RF-to-baseband solution which handles up-/down- conversion directly, the need for an intermediate frequency (IF) stage is eliminated. This translates into reduced complexity, lower bill-of-materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs, and a smaller form factor.

Intersil plans to provide mini-PCI and CardBus32-PC Card reference designs, and the development tools necessary to accelerate time-to-market for 802.11g products. The company stated that its reference design kit will include the PRISM GT chip et, complete schematics, Gerber and layout files, BOM, manufacturing test utilities, PRISM lab test diagnostic tools, FAB drawings (PC Board), antenna construction details, a technology license agreement, manufacturing, mechanical, and assembly drawings.

The PRISM GT OEM Kit will begin sampling in the second quarter of this year, according to the company, with full production scheduled for the third quarter.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com



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