Atheros, Marvell announce 802.11n MIMO chips for mobile devices

It appears that smartphones and tablets will finally be able to take advantage of the 802.11n standard as Atheros Communications and Marvell Technologies announced MIMO chips for mobile clients.

According to both chip companies, which plan to showcase the new chips at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week, the new chips can be integrated into smartphones and other mobile devices to increase the speed of Wi-Fi with little battery drain. Many mobile devices have an 802.11n chip incorporated in them, but none of them incorporate MIMO to actually boost data speeds.

Atheros announced the AR6004 system on a chip (SOC) with 2x2 MIMO that operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band. The chipmaker said the SOC can reach real-world speeds as high as 170 Mbps while consuming about 15 percent more power than its current Wi-Fi chip. Atheros said the chip is intended for both high-end smartphones and tablets and will be available for sampling by the end of the first quarter with commercial quantities expected in the first quarter 2012.

Marvell also announced the Avastar 88W8797, also a dual-band 11n chip with 2x2 MIMO. Marvell said the chip can reach data rates as high as 300 Mbps and includes Bluetooth. It, too, is designed for smartphones and tablets along with sensor devices for health monitoring and home automation. Shipping of samples  has already begun.

The chips are seen as benefiting wireless operators who have embraced offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi networks as MIMO provides better capacity.

For more:
- see this TechWorld article

Related articles:
Research: 802.11n will be in majority of smartphones by 2014
Broadcom fully embraces Linux in 802.11n chips
New iPod touch sports 802.11n chip

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