Agere Systems has announced a tiny, embeddable 802.11e/g/i WLAN module intended for use in handheld consumer devices. Measuring just 20×29 mm and handling data rates up to 54 Mbit/sec, the “mini-module” targets PDAs, media players, smartphones, handheld gaming devices, digital cameras, and camcorders.
The device is based on a new Agere WaveLAN chipset. Previous WaveLAN chips have been supported under Linux, with closed and more advanced open-source drivers available from Agere.
The WaveLAN chipset includes an RF transceiver, media access controller (MAC), baseband processor, and power amplifier. According to Agere, the module delivers output power of 14 dBm at 54 Mbits/s operation and 16 dBm at 12 Mbits/s. It provides an extended range of up to 100 meters at 6 Mbits/s.
In order to reduce battery drain, the module offers a “deep sleep connected” mode that enables a device to idle at low operating power while retaining an active association with its access point. This standby power mode — the state most often in use by wireless devices, according to Agere — operates at 1.5 milliamps for the entire module.
In addition, the module is said to be compliant with the draft IEEE 802.11e specification to meet the quality-of-service requirements for applications including voice-over-wireless LAN and streaming media. It will also support the new 802.11i security standard, expected to be finalized in June.
Agere's 802.11g mini-module is currently sampling, with volume production expected in Q3 of 2004.
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