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Skyworks gets into Broadcom's Wi-Fi chipsets

GaAs chip maker Skyworks Solutions is selected to provide advanced front-end modules for the Wi-Fi chipset giant Broadcom.

Broadcom, the fabless US semiconductor company that has a huge presence in the wireless LAN chipset market, has selected Skyworks to deliver the front-end modules (FEMs) required for its next-generation Wi-Fi technology.

Skyworks will supply "SKY65225" FEMs for Broadcom s so-called "Intensi-Fi" chipset. The product is designed for the proposed 802.11n wireless communication protocol, which is expected to operate at up to 200 Mb/s "“ five times faster than the current Wi-Fi standard.

The SKY65225 module features dual-band transmit/receive chains and includes four power amplifiers; two operating at 5 GHz and two operating at 2 GHz.

Also included are low-loss, high-rejection diplexers based on GaAs to provide high linearity in all transmit paths.

Although specific details of the supply agreement with Broadcom have not been revealed, being involved with such a high-profile chipset supplier ought to significantly boost the production of GaAs-based components at Skyworks.

Broadcom expects the 802.11n protocol to take Wi-Fi way beyond its traditional territory of notebook PCs and network gear, and allow the technology to penetrate consumer electronics applications such as printers, digital cameras, digital video recorders and games consoles.

Skyworks FEM enables simultaneous transfer of voice, data and video content over wireless home networks. Stan Swearingen, the Woburn, MA, company's VP of linear products, says that such networks represent the "next broadband revolution".

"The 802.11n technology will deliver on the promise of user-friendly wireless broadband for digital video recorders, next-generation games consoles, video-on-demand and high-definition television, creating a more sophisticated home entertainment environment," Swearingen added.

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