Extending the coverage

Texas Instruments has announced a new wireless LAN chip which will be available for use in reference designs for PC card, mini-PCI and USB applications.

TI’s new chip is claimed to increase WLAN coverage area by 70 percent versus competitive solutions, the result of a 30 percent linear reach improvement.

The new chip, the ACX100, is comprised of an integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and baseband processor, combined with on-chip PCI, CardBus and USB interfaces, thus eliminating the need for external bridging components. The chip supports both the CCK (Complementary Code Keying) and newer Packet Binary Convolutional Code of the current IEEE 802.11b standard.

With PBCC modulation, end-to-end solutions using TI’s ACX100 offer a coding gain advantage of 3dB over current CCK-only 802.11b solutions, allowing for the 70 percent coverage area improvement.

Since it uses an embedded microprocessor for implementing much of the MAC layer protocol, the ACX100 is firmware upgradable, which facilitates support of evolving IEEE standards such as the forthcoming 802.11e (quality of service) and 802.11i (security enhancements). The device is fully compatible with the IEEE 802.11b standard and also supports a 22Mbit/sec high rate mode that doubles the throughput over today’s existing 802.11b networks.

To help manufacturers achieve a faster time to market, TI is offering three reference designs using the ACX100 for PC Card, mini-PCI and USB applications. The reference designs include a complete hardware development kit (HDK), which reduces engineering resource requirements by providing schematics, layout, Gerber files and bill of material requirements. These same reference designs also support the 22Mbit/sec high rate extension.

Network driver interface specification (NDIS) 4/5 drivers, including configuration and site survey tools, that are Microsoft Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certified are also included.

On the web