What Price Perfection, Mate?


Note to Unstrung readers: For optimum effect this story has been designed to be read aloud in the style of that Aussie reptile freak Steve Irwin. Why? Because it is Good Friday, and our employer chose not to give us the day off. Readers may also find this page useful when reading this article.

Blimey! Wireless LAN chip designer Engim this week introduced an interesting new technology that increases the capacity of wireless LAN access points, mate.


But hold on, what's this!? The company's chipset could prove too costly for margin-sensitive equipment vendors, according to one industry analyst (see Engim Debuts WLAN Switch Chip).

Criiikey! That can't be good!

The Acton, Mass., startup has just made available a chipset that supports the 802.11b (11-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz), 802.11a (54-Mbit/s over 5GHz) and 802.11g standards (54-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) and delivers bandwidth over multiple channels! Strewth! This means that access points adorned with the chipsets could potentially deliver from 33-Mbit/s to 500-Mbit/s bandwidth, depending on the configuration of the chipset. And that's far more than most access points available today!

"Think of it as if you had taken some [standard] access points… and duck-taped them together," says Scott Lindsay, vice president of marketing at Engim (who isn't a pom and so can't be all bad).

Fair do's, Lindsay!

Lindsay says Engim has developed a DSP-based front-end for the chipset that analyses the entire spectrum that the radio operates over and filters the signal so that interference is squelched! Sounds painful! And he says it's working with several access point vendors to flog the technology, but he won't say who!

[Ed. note: you sure he's not a pom?]

IDC analyst Ken Furer describes Engim's chipset as "interesting technology" and expects that Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) will stump up for Engim's chips. Bonzer! (There'll be shrimp on the barby at Scott's gaff tonite, then!)

But -- oh no! -- he also reckons the cost of components could make some vendors spit the dummy in a market where the cost of chipsets is constantly falling -- (see 802.11 WLAN Shipments Double for more about the price of chips).

Furer says that Engim told him that its dualband a and b chipset would be around double the average selling price (ASP) of standard dualmode chipsets, which currently sell for around $20.

"To pay $40 so that your dualband [access point] gets the full three channels on b... I question the value of that," he says.

Well, the chip may cost big bikkies, but we hope for Scott's sake it still comes good.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

dbeberman 12/5/2012 | 12:12:24 AM
re: What Price Perfection, Mate? Well Dan, I guess you and Unstrung still don't get it.

Engim may be able to hog 3 channels at a time per chip in an Access Point. They may even be able to put a couple of these chips together in one Access Point. (Something that probably any AP vendor can do with other chips on the market.)

However, using up the channels means that you are gauranteed to get overlapping AP's and the interference that accompanies this in virtually any
enterprise deployment.

Further, although you may be able to "load balance" some of the near and distance devices onto separate channels, that still doesn't give you 500 Mbps. of throughput. In fact the more distant nodes will probably have in the range of 1 - 2 Mbps. While the nearer nodes might hit the 15 Mbps. mark. So if you happen to manage to get all your devices near enough to the AP (40 foot radius), and use 6 channels simultaneously, you might get 90 Mbps.
Of course, if anybody else wants to put up any other AP's within a 250 foot radius, they will interfere. As you put more AP's up, you obviously end up with one channel per AP in the enterprise.

Your real data throughput, (not your RF bandwidth, not your "capacity") while perhaps a little higher than a single channel AP, still does not represent real sustained, dependable, data throughput, sufficient to service enterprise sized networks.

There is a technology that will provide real sustained, dependable data throughput, sufficient to service enterprise sized networks. Its called TRUErate by Corporate WaveNet, why aren't you writing about it?

David Beberman
Corporate WaveNet, Inc.
[email protected]
synthsense 12/5/2012 | 12:12:02 AM
re: What Price Perfection, Mate? No, you can not. You are bounded by physical laws. ISM band are shared (thus the name junk band). If everybody start to used multiple channels pooled together, then the basic assumption of DSSS and OFDM multiple access no longer hold true.
Sign In