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Small-form-factor 802.11g mobile Wi-Fi module

ALLENTOWN, Pa.— Agere Systems today announced a small-form-factor 802.11g mobile Wi-Fi module specifically designed for handheld consumer devices. This embedded system-in-package (SiP) delivers 54 megabit-per-second (Mbit/s) speeds while balancing exceptional range and power savings for such wireless products as personal digital assistants (PDAs), media players, Smartphones, handheld video game devices, and digital cameras and camcorders.

Powered by Agere’s complete WaveLAN chip set and software drivers, this module is being developed by Universal Scientific Industrial Co. Ltd. (USI), the leading global design and manufacturing service company, to provide excellent connectivity performance in small-form-factor Wi-Fi devices. Measuring only 20×29 millimeters, the SiP module is a standard product tailored to the size, power, operating distance and performance needs of handheld devices for wireless connectivity in homes, businesses and public hotspots. This module will be on display at the Computex 2004 trade show, being held June 1-5 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Industry analyst firm Gartner Dataquest estimates that by 2006, 60 percent of PDAs and 5 percent of cellular handsets being shipped will include built-in wireless LAN connections.

“The success of Wi-Fi in the PC market has helped drive demand for connectivity in handheld devices, giving consumers access to their digital content using PDAs and media players and creating innovative new applications for mobile phones and VoIP handsets,” said Stan Swearingen, vice president of Agere’s computing connectivity division. “This new Wi-Fi module delivers the true mobility elements consumer electronics developers care about most – power savings, small size, reliability and performance.”

100 meters of wireless connectivity with low power consumption The mini-module delivers an extended range of up to 100 meters at 6 Mbits/s. Mobile devices incorporating this solution can take advantage of this range-at-speed performance to provide users with the best possible wireless connection over distance. Better range also means reduced trouble calls and fewer customer returns for Wi-Fi device makers. Using Agere’s WaveLAN chip set — which includes an RF transceiver, media access controller, baseband processor and power amplifier — the SiP module delivers output power of 14 dBm at 54 Mbits/s operation and 16 dBm at 12 Mbits/s.

Battery drain is a critical issue in handheld devices, and unlike single- chip 802.11g solutions that compromise power savings for performance, this solution balances extended range with very low power consumption. This module offers a new “deep sleep connected” mode that enables a device to idle at low operating power while retaining an active association to its access point. This standby power mode – the state most often in use by wireless devices – operates at 1.5 milliamps for the entire module, representing the industry benchmark achieved for low power consumption in 802.11b and g solutions.

The embedded wireless module offers a viable alternative to compact flash cards through its small-form-factor size, standard 16-bit interface as well as a direct solderless board-to-board connector, saving mobile product makers valuable manufacturing time-to-market and cost on new designs. The module is intended to support multiple operating system platforms, including WinCE, Pocket PC 2002, 2003 and others.

In addition, the module is compliant with the draft IEEE 802.11e specification to meet the quality-of-service requirements for applications including voice over wireless LAN and streaming media. The solution will also support the new 802.11i security standard, which is expected to be finalized in June.

The mini-module is currently sampling to customers, and is expected to begin volume production in third calendar quarter 2004. Agere’s WaveLAN chip set can also support 802.11a/b/g SiP solutions for devices that would benefit from the increased capacity and seamless connectivity afforded by multimode wireless networking.