Home » News » Hardware » Broadcom Delivers Flexible New Wi-Fi Workhorse That Slashes Cost, Size and Power
Broadcom Corporation announces a new low cost single-chip wireless LAN (WLAN) solution that enables manufacturers to build smaller, more affordable Wi-Fi(R) products. This highly integrated WLAN chip has a 40 percent smaller footprint and consumes half the power of previous Broadcom(R) solutions while offering the industry's lowest "rest of bill-of-material" (RBOM) costs and delivering the same superior performance of previous solutions. The chip's flexible architecture is optimized for single-band or dual-band use, making it an ideal solution for adding Wi-Fi to a variety of devices, including notebook PCs, broadband gateways and gaming platforms.
To further emphasize the flexibility of its new WLAN chip, Broadcom has developed a unique reference design that combines best-in-class Wi-Fi and Bluetooth(R) capabilities on a standard mini-card. This turnkey solution provides PC manufacturers with a cost-effective way to offer two of the most popular wireless technologies in small notebooks, and offers innovative features to ensure optimal Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance.
"By pushing the boundaries of integration and power management, Broadcom is driving down the cost of existing wireless designs and facilitating new opportunities for Wi-Fi in next-generation devices," said Bill Bunch, Director of Marketing for Broadcom's WLAN line of business. "Our new WLAN platform enables our customers to deliver wireless capabilities in new platforms and at new price points. As a result, we expect to increase Wi-Fi penetration in the high-volume segments where Broadcom is already a strong player."
Announced today is the BroadcomBCM4312 chip, which integrates an 802.11 MAC, baseband processor, and a dual-band radio (2.4 and 5 GHz) onto a single silicon die. The BCM4312 delivers significant size, cost and power benefits for a variety of products that use the PCI Express(R) (PCIe) or secure digital I/O (SDIO) interfaces.
The BCM4312 is a cost-effective solution for service providers deploying wireless DSL gateways. To enable subscribers to share broadband connections throughout their homes and businesses, over half of all DSL gateways now feature Wi-Fi capability. That proportion is expected to reach two-thirds by 2010(1). Not only can the BCM4312 drastically reduce the cost of adding Wi-Fi to broadband modems, but its small footprint and SDIO interface allow for direct integration on the DSL motherboard, enabling manufacturers to design sleeker form factors.
While Wi-Fi is an increasingly popular feature for residential gateways, it has already achieved nearly ubiquitous penetration into notebook PCs. The BCM4312 addresses three key issues facing PC manufacturers -- size, cost and power consumption. In addition to reducing the cost of the standard minicard form factor, the 10mm x 10mm package enables PC OEMs to implement the new half minicard form factor that enables WLAN in ultra-mobile PCs. By leveraging the low-power WLAN architecture that Broadcom designed for cellular handsets and other mobile devices, the BCM4312 can greatly extend notebook PC battery life and reduce RBOM costs by up to 45 percent.
Industry's First Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Module for Notebooks
To provide PC manufacturers with additional wireless connectivity options, Broadcom has introduced the new BCM94312MCGB reference design, which integrates the new BCM4312 WLAN chip with Broadcom's industry leading BCM2046 Bluetooth chip onto a single PCIe mini-card. Combining wireless technologies onto a single module reduces the number of card slots required for wireless subsystems in smaller notebook platforms.
The design utilizes a shared antenna system that eliminates the need for separate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas -- resulting in lower component costs and better performance. The new reference design also supports Broadcom's popular InConcert(R) coexistence technology, a unique set of enhancements to reduce interference and improve performance in devices using both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.