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Broadcom Ships WLAN Chips

Broadcom ships new 'M' series of 54-Mbit/s 802.11a/g solutions that deliver superior battery life, speed, and security

September 15, 2003

4 Min Read

IRVINE, Calif. -- Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM - News), the leading provider of silicon solutions enabling broadband communications, today introduced new wireless LAN chips that reduce power consumption to extend the battery life of Wi-Fi® enabled notebook PCs. Equipped with a wireless solution using the new Broadcom® AirForce(TM) BCM4306-M chip, a typical Pentium® M notebook can last up to 20 minutes longer, for example, than the same notebook with a Centrino(TM) wireless LAN solution(1). In addition to better battery life, the new Broadcom products deliver 54Mbps Wi-Fi performance, allowing the user to transfer up to five times as much data in the same amount of time as notebooks containing slower 802.11b wireless LAN technology.

The new suite of AirForce BCM430x-M baseband processors with integrated Medium Access Controllers (MAC) enables PC manufacturers to add 802.11g and 802.11a/g wireless connectivity without adversely affecting battery performance. In power-save mode, Broadcom's M-series solutions draw 75 percent less power than other leading wireless solutions and typically consume less than one minute of the overall life of a notebook battery(2). With its additional power savings and extended battery life, Broadcom's M-series products complement the low-power features of today's mobile processors, including the Pentium® M, Pentium 4-M, the Mobile AMD Athlon(TM) and the Transmeta Crusoe(TM) processor.

"Notebook buyers should know they have a choice for Wi-Fi connectivity that not only offers greater speed and better security than alternative wireless technology, but also provides longer battery life," said Jeff Abramowitz, Senior Director of WLAN Marketing for Broadcom's Home and Wireless Networking Business Unit. "Broadcom M-series wireless LAN products are up to five times faster than competitive solutions, with lower power consumption that extends notebook battery life up to 20 minutes longer with little or no added cost."

Broadcom leads the industry in 54 Mbps Wi-Fi technology and was the first vendor to embed IEEE 802.11a/g combination cards into notebook PCs. Broadcom's 54g(TM) is the premier solution for the highly popular 802.11g standard, enabling notebooks and wireless LAN equipment with the highest throughput and range, while remaining compatible with the estimated 40 million 802.11b nodes currently in service. Designs based on Broadcom's technology have been Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM) by the Wi-Fi Alliance for interoperability on 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and Wi-Fi Protected Access(TM). According to The NPD Group, Broadcom's 54g(TM) technology currently is incorporated into more than 80 percent of all 802.11g networking equipment that has sold through US retail distribution. Additionally, all major 802.11g-enabled notebook PCs sold to date are based on Broadcom groundbreaking 54g(TM) technology.

"Broadcom has demonstrated its technical leadership by reducing wireless LAN power consumption and extending the amount of time that notebook users can enjoy the freedom of Wi-Fi," said Bob Wheeler, Senior Analyst with The Linley Group. "The new low power solutions will enable PC vendors to offer the best of both worlds to notebook customers -- the significant battery life benefits of today's low-power processors and the latest standards-compliant high-speed wireless technology available."

In addition to optimizing power consumption during transmit, receive and idle modes, Broadcom has added its SuperStandby(TM) mode to its 802.11- compliant BCM430x-M solutions. SuperStandby mode was first developed for Broadcom's AirForce One(TM) single-chip Wi-Fi solution, designed for pocketsize electronic devices. SuperStandby is a unique "deep sleep" state that conserves power by waking the minimum amount of circuitry for the shortest period of time. In SuperStandby mode, designs using Broadcom's new chips consume as little as one minute of battery time over the life span of a fully charged battery.

Low-Power Solutions Provide Maximum Performance, Security and Range

All AirForce solutions, including the new M-series baseband/MAC chips, leverage Broadcom's OneDriver(TM) software, which provides a number of standards-based technologies to enhance performance and security. One such enhancement is Xpress(TM) technology, a standards-based software enhancement that increases data efficiency to improve network performance. Adding a node enabled by Xpress technology to a wireless LAN increases aggregate network performance by up to 75 percent in a mixed 802.11g+802.11b environment. 54g(TM)-based client devices enhanced with Xpress technology can achieve more than six times greater performance than 802.11b products.

The new M-series baseband/MAC solutions also provide the industry's most advanced Wi-Fi security features. Broadcom-based solutions have been certified for Wi-Fi Protected Access and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX), and include built-in hardware support for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protocol. Built-in encryption/decryption helps to improve system performance and lower power consumption by reducing host-CPU utilization. AES is expected to be a requirement of the forthcoming IEEE 802.11i standard. This comprehensive security portfolio provides powerful network protection today and future-proofs customer investments by meeting the stringent standards-based security requirements of tomorrow.

Additionally, the new BCM430x-M baseband/MAC solutions leverage Broadcom's SmartRadio(TM) technology to improve wireless LAN throughput and range. In addition to advanced signal processing techniques, the all-CMOS solutions are capable of self-calibrating based on usage temperature and other environmental conditions, reconfiguring constantly for optimum performance. Competing radios are statically calibrated at the point of manufacture and are unable to adapt to changing environmental influences.

Broadcom Corp.

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