Airoha to bring 802.11n to consumer electronics

The 802.11n standard is yet to be completed, a fact which has not stopped vendors from rushing pre-802.11n or draft-802.11n products to market. We note Taiwanese company Airoha Technology, is showing its AL8230, a dual-band (2.4-2.5 GHZ and 5.9 GHz) RF device armed with three RF transceivers and which uses silicon germanium BiCMOS to integrate power amplifiers. Note that the transceiver is one transmit-one receive (1T1R) architecture, but that it may be used in different configuration--e.g., from 1Tx2R to 4Tx4R--for increased sensitivity. The company says that later this year it will be showing a single band 2T3R 802.11n transceiver and that in 2007 it will be offering a dual-band 2T3R one.

Airoha has its eyes on the consumer electronics market--for a reason. Market research firm IDC says that by 2008, 13 percent of consumer electronics devices will be sporting WLAN capabilities, up from 1 percent in 2004. Airoha already has some experience in this market, as its AL223X low-power 802.11b/g transceiver has recently been selected to become part of the design of a rival to the ubiquitous iPod. Mark Lu, Airoha's president, told Commsdesign that the company's 802.11n transceiver could "dramatically" cut the bill of materials cost for draft 802.11n systems, bringing this cost close to that of 802.11g. If so, this should make 802.11n more attractive to OEMs and consumers.

Two weeks ago Red Herring announced that Airoha was included among the 200 finalists competing for the magazine's 100 Asia--an elite group of the continent's most promising technology companies. 

For more on Airoha's AL8230:
- check out the company's Web site
- see Mike Clendenin's CommsDesign report for more on Airoha's consumer electronics strategy

PLUS: Acer's new Ferrari notebooks will feature Broadcom's Intensi-fi draft-802.11n chipsets. Press release

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