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Atheros releases low-power Wi-Fi chipsets

Atheros Communications announced two new Wi-Fi chipsets that extend the range and reduce the power consumption of 802.11 wireless networks. The new chips help open the door for the company into new device markets, such as handhelds and smart phones. Last week, chip competitors Broadcom and Philips Semiconductor made similar announcements. Increasingly, chipmakers are looking for new growth categories for their processors amid their consistently shrinking profit margins.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Atheros said its new chips reduce system power consumption by 60 percent and offer twice the range that previous chips offered networks. The chips also offer integrated network management capabilities, such as wake-on-wireless and wake-on-theft, and support Wi-Fi Protected Access and draft versions of the 802.11i security specification and the 802.11e quality of service specification. The AR5004X chips can be used for 802.11a/802.11b/802.11g networks, while the AR5004G provides support for 802.11g and 802.11b networks. The chips are currently available in volume.