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Broadcom entering enterprise access point market

Long a supplier of chips for the home access point industry, Broadcom is adding enterprise-class access points to its product list.

After years of providing chips for wireless access points used in homes, Broadcom is turning its attention to the business world.

The chip company is putting together a combination of 802.11n Wi-Fi chips and software to help networking companies build wireless access points for enterprise customers, said Mike Hurlston, vice president and general manager of Broadcom's wireless LAN business. Broadcom has been working with its partners for some time on building enterprise-class 802.11n access points, but is finally ready to announce its entry into this category.

Big companies require a lot more sophistication from their access points, Hurlston said. For example, they need things like load-balancing software to move PCs along to nearby access points if one particular unit starts to get overloaded. To this point, they've mostly avoided the faster 802.11n units because of the delay in formal ratification of the standard, but vendors have been shipping 802.11n products for some time.

Broadcom decided to enter the market now because it saw an opportunity to package the Wi-Fi chips with chips for networking switches, so that device makers have more incentive to buy a broader package of products from the company, Hurlston said.