Agere Announces VoIP/WLAN Chipset

By Eric Griffith

July 15, 2003

The wireless silicon provider is releasing a low-power, four-chip set to run Voice over IP phones. First customer: Japan's NTT-ME Corp., which will provide the Universal Plug-and-Play support on the handsets that can be used by NTT broadband customers.

Agere Systems of Allentown, Pa., announced today a new chip set collection it says will take advantage of the company's experience in providing Wi-Fi silicon and packet Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions.

The chipset consists of four chips -- a system-on-a-chip (SoC) which integrates a digital signal processor (DSP) for voice with an ARM microcontroller, the WL60010 802.11b media access controller (MAC), a PHY module with baseband and radio, and finally the CSP2200 chip with takes care of such phone handset necessities as power management, battery charging, ring tones and even the vibration control.

Power management is key in a product like this, and Agere's Dharmendra Patel, senior marketing manager for VoIP business, says "we believe we can extend the battery life of the products on the market today. Many only have two to two-and-a-half hours of talk, with maybe 25 hours of stand-by. Ours will do four hours of talk and 60 hours of stand-by." That's all using a 1000 miliAmp battery in a small-form factor phone, about the size of a cellular "flip" phone.

The first company to sign on for use of this VoIP/WLAN solution is NTT-ME, part of Japan's giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East, or NTT. It's not a one way deal -- Agere will be using NTT's Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) software, based on the UPnP standard first developed by Microsoft, in the chips. Phones developed with those chips will then be ready for use by customers of NTT broadband.

Tony Grewe, director of strategic marketing for client systems at Agere, points out that the chips, however, are not exclusive to NTT by any means. The code for UPnP will simply "ensure interoperability with NTT's implementation; it gives them significant time reduction" to market.

Agere will support NTT-ME's UPnP software development kit (SDK) in general, and will also provide support for the uClinux OS, session initiation protocol (SIP), codecs for voice compression, and more.

The company will have samples of the chips available to customers in September, and expects volume production to begin in the first quarter of 2004. Pricing will start at $30 for complete chipsets while sampling.

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