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Broadcom puts Wi-Fi into one stamp sized chip

Broadcom Corporation, today announced that it is shipping the world’s first single-chip Wi-Fi® solution, the Broadcom® BCM4317. Broadcom’s AirForce One™ wireless LAN solutions are the size of a postage stamp and consume up to 97 percent less power than other Wi-Fi solutions on the market. The unprecedented size and efficiency of the one-chip offering make Wi-Fi connectivity practical for the first time for a wide range of pocketsize electronic devices, including PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players and other portable devices.

“Wireless LANs have seen explosive growth in recent years, due to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology,” said Tim Bajarin, Principal Analyst of the research firm Creative Strategies. “Until now, wireless connectivity has been primarily confined to PCs, due to the power and size demands of traditional wireless LAN chipsets. The introduction of Broadcom’s single-chip solution is a revolutionary breakthrough for the wireless industry – one that will reach previously untapped markets and generate endless possibilities for consumers.”

Integration, Size Enable New Generation of Wireless Devices
Broadcom was the first vendor to deliver all-CMOS wireless LAN and Bluetooth™ solutions, and has now leveraged that expertise to produce the first single-chip, all-CMOS wireless LAN transceiver. While competing products require multiple chips and many discrete components, Broadcom’s AirForce One single-chip solution integrates a 2.4 GHz radio, power amplifier, IEEE 802.11b baseband processor, medium access controller (MAC), Tx/Rx and diversity switches and all other radio components onto a single silicon die. This unprecedented level of chip integration eliminates more than 100 discrete components and makes the one-chip module 87 percent smaller than traditional mini-PCI Wi-Fi solutions.

“Mobile device manufacturers continue to drive requirements for silicon integration by adding exciting new capabilities into smaller form factors,” said Alan E. “Lanny” Ross, President and CEO of Broadcom. “By leveraging superior communications technology and unparalleled mixed signal CMOS expertise, Broadcom’s one-chip Wi-Fi solution meets the size, cost and power requirements of compact mobile devices. This opens the door for us to enable countless new applications and further extends our leadership in the wireless networking market.”

Innovative Power Management Extends Battery Life

Broadcom’s onechip solution also offers a comprehensive power management scheme to extend the battery life of small mobile devices. This power management approach consumes an average of 70-97% less power than existing solutions and leverages the benefits of extreme integration, innovative hardware design and Broadcom’s new SuperStandby™ software. SuperStandby wakes the minimum amount of circuitry for the shortest possible period of time, allowing the one-chip module to consume up to 97 percent less power than the Intel® Centrino™ wireless LAN solution in standby mode . Pocket-sized mobile devices spend a majority of their time in standby mode, and the power savings offered by the AirForce One chip solution can add several days of battery life to a Wi-Fi- enabled PDA.

Increasingly Affordable Wi-Fi Solutions

Broadcom’s AirForce One chip design is the industry’s most cost effective architecture for Wi-Fi chipsets. To facilitate the adoption of the single-chip solution in new wireless-enabled devices, Broadcom is sampling three reference designs that lower wireless LAN implementation costs and accelerate time-to-market for manufacturers. These designs simplify the building of cost effective modules by drastically reducing the number of off-chip components and allowing concurrent RF and silicon testing. The AirForce One module’s small size and Broadcom’s AirForce™ OneDriver™ software toolkit allow mobile device vendors to more efficiently integrate wireless networking into their products.

Complete Wireless LAN Functionality in a Miniature Form Factor

In addition to the unique benefits afforded by a single-chip solution, the AirForce One solution leverages Broadcom’s CMOS hardware expertise and proven OneDriver software to deliver the superior performance, range and security features of its industry-leading wireless LAN chipsets. The OneDriver software includes all of the elements required for submission to Wi-Fi labs for certification testing, provides maximum stability and flexibility across Broadcom’s entire line of AirForce wireless LAN products, and enables a comprehensive portfolio of features, including: conditions

– The industry’s most comprehensive security portfolio, including Wi-Fi Protected Access™ (WPA) and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX), as well as built-in hardware support for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES); and

– Broadcom Xpress™ frame-bursting technology to improve the efficiency and increase overall throughput of a wireless network

Broadcom’s AirForce™ Wi-Fi Product Family

Broadcom’s high performance WLAN product line, AirForce, features the greatest breadth and depth in the industry. In addition to transceivers that provide IEEE 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11a and dual-band 802.11a/g solutions, Broadcom integrates wireless network processors, communications technologies and OneDriver software solutions into reference designs that speed customer time to market. Broadcom partners are developing a variety of client solutions based on AirForce products and technology, including routers, access points, cable modems, DSL modems, Bluetooth solutions and GPRS cellular products.


Broadcom’s first AirForce One chip is the BCM4317. The AirForce BCM94317SD and BCM94317CF are production-ready module reference designs that enable customers to easily add 802.11b connectivity to small mobile devices. Manufacturers can also add Bluetooth to their devices using the AirForce BCM94317SB reference design, which integrates single-chip 802.11b and Broadcom’s single-chip BCM2035 Bluetooth transceiver on the same module. The BCM4317 and AirForce One reference design products are currently shipping to Broadcom’s early access partners.


On Tuesday, September 9 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time (2:00 p.m. Eastern Time), Broadcom will host a Webcast entitled “Unlocking the Power of Wireless LANs.” Please join Jeff Thermond, Vice President of General Manager of Broadcom’s Home and Wireless Networking Business Unit, who will discuss how the AirForce One single-chip solution will impact the evolving wireless LAN industry and change the way people use Wi-Fi networks. For additional information or to register for the Webcast, visit http://www.broadcom.com/webcast_wlan_030909.html.

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