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WiFi chip cuts standby power to “near-zero”

Oct 30, 2007 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Atheros has announced a new “game-changing” WiFi chip said to cut power consumption drastically on mobile devices. The Atheros AR6002 “Radio on Chip for Mobile” (ROCm) draws “near-zero” power when in standby, and 70 percent less power than previous WiFi technologies when active, the company claims.

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Claiming to have “eliminated the power consumption challenge,” Atheros says its single-chip AR6002 will take more than 100 hours to deplete a standard 3.7V, 800mAh phone battery in continual VoIP mode. In another application using the AR6002, 200 gigabytes of data could be downloaded before depleting the same battery, the company adds.

In addition, the company claims that users of devices incorporating the AR6002 chip won't need to switch the WiFi functionality on and off, since standby power consumption is infinitesimal.

The AR6002 is said to be software-compatible with the company's prior AR6001 (AR6K). A GPL-licensed Linux driver for that chip is available, and has already been adopted by the OpenMoko project.

Additional touted features include:

  • “Pre-qualified ROCm software features”
  • A long-standing relationship with Qualcomm
  • Implements “industry-standard” 2-, 3-, and 4-wire protocols for WiFi/Bluetooth coexistence in mobile devices
  • WLAN communication behavior automatically modified in the presence of Bluetooth devices
  • Hardware-based, full-speed security supports the WPA, WPA2 and 802.11i standards
  • “Rich” support for voice and video through polled QoS extensions (802.11e and WMM)

Availability

The AR6002 is currently sampling, and due for volume production in Q1, 2008. Pricing was not disclosed.

It will be available in single 802.11g (2.4GHz) and dual-band 802.11a/g (5/2.4 GHz) options, housed in either chip scale packages (CSPs) or ball grid arrays (BGAs). In addition to the WiFi radio and control logic, a power amplifier, low noise amplifier, and RF switch are all said to be resident on the chip.

Atheros says it offers full driver support for Linux, Windows CE, and Windows Mobile.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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