AMD to release two-chip WLAN chipset

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) has developed a chipset for 802.11b wireless cards that will reduce the amount of processing power needed to maintain a wireless LAN (WLAN) connection, it said in a release Monday. The company also unveiled a mini-PCI card reference design kit.

The AMD Alchemy Solutions Am1772 consists of two chips, a radio transceiver and a baseband processor. The transceiver makes use of an architecture called direct down conversion that reduces the number of components on the chip, eliminating the need for a third intermediate frequency chip found in older designs.

The Am1772 allows notebook and personal digital assistant (PDA) manufacturers to develop devices that cost less due to the removal of an on-chip microcontroller that used expensive SRAM (static RAM) or flash memory, AMD said. In addition, CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) technology increases the battery power of devices with the chipset, the company said.

Several companies have released two-chip WLAN platforms, and most leading vendors such as Intersil Corp. and AMD rival Intel Corp. are working on single-chip designs.

The Am1772 will be available in the first quarter of 2003, and is shipping now in sample volumes to designers. Pricing information was not available.

AMD, based in Sunnyvale, California, purchased Alchemy Semiconductor Inc. in February to acquire the technology used to develop the Am1772.

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