Intersil announces roadmap for future 5 GHZ WLAN systems

28 February 2001 News

Intersil recently announced its roadmap for future 5 GHz WLAN systems operating to the IEEE's 802.11a and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's (ETSI) HIPERLAN/2 standards.

"Intersil is the dominant silicon leader in the 2,4 GHz market with our PRISM I, II and 2.5 solutions and we intend to expand that leadership as this spectrum continues to be deployed in homes and offices over the next several years," said Larry Ciaccia, Vice President and General Manager for Prism Wireless Products at Intersil. "With wired Ethernet systems moving to faster speeds, it is necessary to develop 5 GHz wireless nodes that deliver 54 Mbps data rates, especially to service demand in the Enterprise space. We expect to deliver samples of a complete 5 GHz chipset toward the end of the first half of 2001, hitting full production in the second half."

Intersil will provide complete solutions including reference designs, evaluation kits, firmware and software, as with the current PRISM portfolio. "We believe that silicon leadership in the 5 GHz spectrum will require the same high integration, a systems-level solution approach and an aggressive programme of reducing cost and power consumption, that we have demonstrated for 2,4 GHz," Ciaccia commented.

The move to 5 GHz, 802.11a solutions is likely to be led by equipment manufacturers serving the Enterprise market. "As more and more 100 Mbps backplanes go into corporate offices, the IT departments will be looking to deploy wireless nodes that operate at data rates higher than those currently achieved in the 2,4 GHz band," Ciaccia explained. "We believe these 5 GHz, 54 Mbps systems can be installed in parallel with existing 802.11b 2,4 GHz systems with no interference, allowing companies to give higher performance to workers who need it, while continuing to use their investment in 802.11b systems." Intersil also believes 5 GHz, 54 Mbps solutions are ideal for building-to-building wireless bridging applications.

Another market that is likely to benefit from the higher bandwidth is the home market. With 54 Mbps wireless systems in homes, it is practical to move simultaneous, multichannel video, voice and CD-quality audio throughout a home. "While more cost sensitive than the Enterprise market, the home market will benefit from the development of smaller faster wireless access products with relatively low power consumption and low cost," Ciaccia added.

The PRISM 5 GHz chip sets will feature innovative MAC enhancements to deliver best-in-class radio performance, bill of materials cost and power consumption. The architecture is designed to support IEEE 802.11a, and subsequently ETSI BRAN HIPERLAN/2 and any potential future standards that evolve as a result of the initiatives taken by the 5GHz WLAN Industry Advisory Group. Because the new portfolio will operate in the 5 GHz carrier band, end systems will not interfere with existing IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth or microwave products. [email protected]

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