Agere, USI Fuse B'tooth, WiFi

Agere Systems and Taiwan's Universal Scientific Industrial develop the first 802.11/Bluetooth combination module for handheld devices

June 17, 2003

4 Min Read

AMSTERDAM -- Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR.A, AGR.B) today announced that its Wi-Fi networking chip set is being used by original design manufacturer Universal Scientific Industrial Co. Ltd. (USI) for the industry's first small-form-factor 802.11b/Bluetooth wireless module specifically designed for handheld consumer devices. This integrated module offers the seamless connectivity, small size and low power required in such portable wireless products as personal digital assistants (PDAs), Smartphones, digital cameras, camcorders and printers.

Agere is providing USI with its complete WaveLAN(tm) chip set - including digital baseband, direct-down conversion radio, media access controller (MAC), power management chips and software drivers - for empowering robust and secure wireless connectivity at speeds of up to 11 megabits-per-second (Mbits/s). USI is incorporating Agere's solution in both a small-form-factor Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module and a Wi-Fi-only module, on display this week here at the Bluetooth Developers Congress. With battery drain a critical issue in handheld devices, these modules balance high performance with the industry's lowest power consumption.

"Wireless users want the freedom to move untethered without losing their connection," said C.Y. Wei, Corporate Senior V. P. and General Manager of USI's Communication Business Group. "Our module combines two key wireless technologies - 802.11b and Bluetooth - to enable even greater data sharing and connectivity options for mobile applications. Moreover, USI's design expertise and manufacturing capacity offer customers total solutions to differentiate their products by quick time-to-market, best performance and desirable quality."

The combination Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module enables portable devices to roam seamlessly among multiple access points and Wi-Fi hotspots, while offering Bluetooth-enabled short-range, peer-to-peer connectivity for information sharing among separate communications equipment. USI will be using Bluetooth technology provided by Cambridge Silicon Radio for this module.

The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-only embedded wireless modules can replace compact flash cards by offering a direct solderless board-to-board connection for handheld device makers, saving valuable manufacturing time-to-market and cost. Both modules measure 22x29 millimeters, the narrow form factor size preferred by device makers developing handheld products.

"Agere is leveraging its experience in advanced Wi-Fi solutions to equip USI with the hardware, software and design tools to deliver new wireless networking capabilities such as the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module," said Stan Swearingen, vice president of Agere's Computing Connectivity division. "Agere's technology distribution through ODMs has allowed us to broaden our footprint in the 802.11b segments we serve."

Based in Taiwan, USI is a leading global DMS company of computing, communication, mobile and application-specific devices, components and modules. Agere is an industry pioneer in developing wireless LAN solutions, and its Wi-Fi chips, reference designs and modules have been incorporated into the current products manufactured by virtually all of the top PC makers. Agere was ranked No. 2 in wireless networking solutions for 2002 by industry analyst firm IDC.

Agere and USI are offering components with exceptional performance and industry-leading power management. In addition to low-power transmit and receive modes, the modules offer an ultra-low "standby" power mode - the mode most in use by portable devices - that is up to 80 percent more efficient than those found in competing Wi-Fi-only modules.

To ensure smooth communication between the 802.11 and Bluetooth systems, the combination module uses a two-wire coexistence scheme, which reduces interference. The Wi-Fi-only module provides receive antenna diversity, employing a dual-antenna design to draw the strongest signal available in a wireless network and improve the connectivity range for users.

The modules are intended to support multiple operating systems for handheld devices, including Windows 2000, XP, CE, Pocket PC and others, and will support the new software security standard Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) for enhanced user authentication and data protection.

The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module is on display in Agere's stand (# 338) at the Bluetooth Developers Congress, June 17-19.

Agere is currently shipping its WaveLAN solutions to USI in volume quantities. Engineering samples of the combination Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-only modules are expected to be available in third calendar quarter 2003, with production quantities expected in the fourth calendar quarter 2003.

Agere Systems

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