Mercury5G Chipset Straddles 802.11a and 802.11b with World’s First Wireless Dual Mode Chipset
Matt Alleyne/Zuzanna Pasierbinska
+44 (0) 20 7494 6570
3 December 2001 - Reading, UK - Synad Technologies Limited, a fabless chip start-up focused on wireless networking, today announced Mercury5G, the world’s first complete dual mode chipset, which makes it possible for the first time to build dual standard wireless local area networks (WLANs).
The Mercury5G chipset will enable a new breed of client interface products that can connect and interoperate with both the existing 11-megabit WiFi 802.11b networks operating at 2.4GHz and the emerging IEEE 802.11a 54-megabit networks operating at 5GHz.
Mercury5G is based on Synad’s patent pending AgileRF architecture, devised by Synad to deliver interoperability between the two 802.11 standards without compromising data throughput, range or performance. The AgileRF architecture enables dynamic monitoring and switching between 802.11a and 802.11b, without loss of connectivity to the user, to whichever access point provides the optimum service.
"Providing client interoperability between 802.11b and its faster counterpart 802.11a through a dual standard solution like Synad's AgileRF will ultimately accelerate the adoption of 5GHz wireless networking," said Ken Furer, Analyst, IDC.
Mercury5G will enable a PC or laptop to connect to a local wireless network irrespective of whether it is an 802.11a or 802.11b network. The breakthrough development means that IT managers no longer face a stark choice over which wireless standard to deploy. Instead, IT managers can focus on specifying an effective wireless network configuration combining the advantages of both standards, confident that users will be able to gain optimum performance.
From a users perspective Mercury5G will extend the usefulness of mobile computing, enabling users to gain the advantage of broadband connectivity offered by 5GHz networks yet be confident of connectivity to wireless networks in other areas such as the home, airports, hotels and coffee shops, irrespective of the wireless standard deployed.
Synad is targeting its Mercury5G chipset at computer manufacturers for mobile PC and PDA applications and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) involved in the market delivery of networking products.
Ultimately Synad believes that Mercury5G will accelerate the adoption of wireless local area networks by enabling the two standards to interoperate on the same network and by providing seamless migration between 802.11b and 802.11a.
“Until now the lack of compatibility to 802.11b in current 802.11a products is hampering adoption of wireless technology. Synad’s Mercury5G resolves this at a stroke, by effectively making the two technologies interoperable, enabling enterprises to focus on the roll out of wireless networking technologies,” said Mike Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Synad.
Mercury5G is a highly integrated two-chip solution, comprising a direct conversion (Zero IF) dual band radio chip and a modem/MAC chip, both fabricated in low cost CMOS technology. Direct conversion radio avoids expensive external components associated with other techniques.
Mercury5G uses integrated system memory, enabling a very low cost client adapter that requires no external flash memory components.
Mercury5G uses optimal partitioning between hardware and software based functionality. By combining hardware accelerators with a powerful RISC CPU, Mercury5G is able to deliver the sustained high speed data throughput demanded yet retain the flexibility needed to adapt to enhancing standards.
Mercury5G will deliver the enhanced MAC functionality that is critical to the future of enterprise class wireless networks. Powerful security features include WEP and AES encryption along with support for authentication protocols. High quality multi media streaming is enabled with Quality of Service protocols supported by an advanced DMA engine that delivers packet prioritisation.
With advanced spectrum management functions that include Transmit Power Control (TPC) and Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) Mercury5G offers the ability to meet harsher spectrum regulatory requirements that prevail in many parts of the world, as well as reduced power consumption.
Cost and availability
The Mercury5G chipset is priced at per 100,000 units and will sample to customers in the second quarter of 2002.
Mercury5G will be fully supported by a comprehensive developers kit, including reference designs for common configurations such as miniPCI and CardBus PC Card, software drivers, API’s and support tools.
Synad Technologies Limited was founded in August 2000 on a vision of pervasive broadband wireless connectivity through the rapid development of smart CMOS chips for the wireless networking industry.
Based in the UK, one of the strongest centres in the world for wireless design, Synad has a growing team of over 45 staff today and is focussed on fulfilling its vision through the development of advanced technologies and products for Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN).
Synad is a member of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) at http://www.wi-fi.com, a vendor led organisation, which is striving to develop compatible wireless networking standards.
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