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September 13, 2005

Airgo Hits 240 Mbps with Third Generation MIMO

By Glenn Fleishman

Airgo announced its next-generation MIMO chips today: Airgo’s newest entry in the MIMO field will hit 240 Mbps of raw throughput when communicating among identical devices. The new chips are backwards compatible with 802.11a, b, and g, and previous Airgo-based devices. Actual throughput should be about 100 Mbps versus about 20 Mbps for plain 802.11g and 30 to 40 Mbps with various extensions and antenna technologies.

Airgo’s director of product marketing Dave Borison said in an interview that the third-generation chips will help wireless enter the consumer-electronics market for streaming video around the house. “These products will literally support multiple streams of HD [high-definition television] over an entire home,” Borison said. The higher speed also comes with a maintenance of higher speeds at greater distances than existing gear of any kind.

The new chips employ 40 megahertz (MHz) wide channels rather than the 20 MHz used for 802.11 standards. Unlike Atheros Turbo mode in Super G, the Airgo chips expand spectrum to adjacent channels, and make that decision by monitoring spectrum on a frame-by-frame basis. Older devices receive 20 MHz single-channel transmissions; compatible newer adapters accept 40 MHz as available using what they call Adaptive Channel Expansion. “They don’t create negative effects on” neighboring channels Borison said.

The 240 Mbps rate doesn’t include compression; it’s the raw symbol rate passed through the devices, Borison said. As with earlier Airgo gear, both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are supported with 802.11a, b, and g compatibility.

While Airgo isn’t producing equipment that matches point for point either of the competing proposals in Task Group N (802.11n), some aspects of these new chips parallel general trends in the group.

Borison said Airgo is confident that their technical lead will continue for some time. “We’ve now got four or five years plus, three generations of commercially available silicon, ahead of any of our competitors that haven’t even launched their first generation,” he said. The new chips are in sampling now with manufacturers.

Other coverage: Reuters notes that the new chips will cost less than the current generation.

Posted by Glennf at September 13, 2005 9:45 PM

Categories: Chips, Future, MIMO

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