Atheros launches new energy-efficient WLAN chip for mobile devices

Atheros introduces new WLAN chip for mobile devices that uses 20 percent less energy and comes in a tiny form factor.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read

Your mobile devices' wireless LAN is about to get significantly better.

Atheros, a mobile Wireless LAN (WLAN) chip maker, announced Monday the lauch of its newest and possibly the industry's highest performance mobile WLAN chip, the the ROCm single-chip 11n AR6003 family.

The new AR6003 mobile WLAN chip is the smallest WLAN currently on the market. Atheros

According to Atheros, this tiny new chip, currently the smallest WLAN chip on the market, measuring just a 5mm by 5mm, combines both the energy efficiency of Atheros' ROCm technology and the faster 802.11n WLAN performance. As a result, it offers up to 85Mbps of actual throughput speed in the 5GHz band and 48Mbps in the 2.4Ghz band.

While this speed is slower than the 150Mbps ceiling speed of the single-stream 802.11n standard (which is just half the speed of regular dual-stream, 802.11n standard used in desktop and laptop computers), it's a very good fit and offers a major performance improvement for smartphones, mobile gaming devices, and other portable consumer electronics products.

The most impressive feature of the new chip, however, is its energy efficiency. According to Atheros, the AR6003 require about 20 percent less energy than the previous model, the AR6002, which prior to the launch of the AR6003, had always been the most energy efficient WLAN chip on the market.

In addition, the new AR6003 chip supports Atheros Universal Wireless Cooperation, which is a suite of advanced mobile wireless coexistence techniques. This helps significantly enhance the simultaneous operation of WLAN and Bluetooth in mobile devices. The new chip also support mobile device with host wakeup, and Wi-Fi Protected Setup, a feature that allows for quickly connecting a client to a wireless network without having to amnaully enter the encryption key.

The AR6003 mobile WLAN chip is available in single-band and dual-band (2.4/5Ghz) configurations. You won't be able to buy one on your own, but very soon you'll find one in your mobile wireless device.