updated 03:50 pm EST, Mon November 2, 2009
Atheros AR6003 promises 85Mbps on phones
Atheros claimed a minor breakthrough on Monday through a new addition to its ROCm chips. The AR6003 is billed as not just a rare single-chip 802.11n Wi-Fi part for smartphones and other handhelds but also the fastest of its kind. It takes advantage of features that aren't always used in 802.11n to boost the maximum speed up to 85Mbps in real situations when on the 5GHz band. The technique has the side benefit of increasing the usable range of a handheld compared to older 802.11g wireless.
The semiconductor producer claims the AR6003 consumes 20 percent less power than the already low-power AR6002 despite the added bandwidth and that it co-exists properly with a Bluetooth chipset running in the same device.
Customers haven't been named for the Atheros chip, though it's already being sampled for companies testing the design and is already being incorporated into future products.
Few sub-notebook devices use 802.11n today, in part due to power requirements; the third-generation iPod touch uses a Broadcom 802.11n chip, but its n-level speeds have been disabled for unknown reasons.