Wireless Network Processor optimizes 802.11n utilization.

Press Release Summary:



Wireless Network Processing Unit (WNPU), AR7161, has 600 MHz clock speed and unlocks full potential of 802.11n technology to enable simultaneous high-bandwidth applications. Based on XSPAN(TM) with Signal-Sustain Technology(TM), AR5008AP-3NX2 is 802.11n-chipset that enables dual-concurrent, 2.4 GHz plus 5 GHz WLAN access point/router solution featuring 3 x 3 MIMO design. Products featuring this chipset will have processing power to support 27-channel wireless capacity.



Original Press Release:



Atheros Launches Market-Leading Wireless Network Processor for Ultimate 802.11n Networking



AR7100 Wireless Network Processor Family Custom-Designed to Deliver Optimal XSPAN Performance

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 3 -- Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHR), a leading developer of advanced wireless solutions, today announced the newest member of its AR7100 Wireless Network Processing Unit (WNPU) family -- the AR7161. The highly optimized and cost-effective WNPU unlocks the full potential of 802.11n technology to enable simultaneous high-bandwidth applications, like high-definition (HD) video streaming, network attached storage and multiplayer gaming, in addition to wireless printing, audio streaming and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony.

The AR7161 was specifically designed to support the highest 802.11n performance in a cost-effective processor solution. The full benefits of the WNPU are realized in Atheros' newly launched 802.11n-chipset, the AR5008AP-3NX2, which is based on XSPAN(TM) with Signal-Sustain Technology(TM). The chipset enables a dual-concurrent, 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) plus 5 GHz wireless LAN (WLAN) access point (AP)/router solution featuring a 3x3 MIMO design (three complete RF transmit and receive chains). Products featuring this chipset will have extraordinary processing power to support 27-channel wireless capacity delivering up to 600 megabits-per-second (Mbps) combined physical data rates when operating on two concurrent channels. For more details on this new solution, please see the press release, "Atheros Introduces Highest-Performance XSPAN Dual-Concurrent Wireless Router Solution," at: www.atheros.com .

Atheros AR7100 Wireless Network Processor Family

Enhanced Wireless Performance with Innovative Memory Architecture

Atheros' AR7100 WNPU family delivers an exponential increase in processing performance for new 802.11n APs and routers. Atheros designed its WNPUs looking beyond clock speed toward optimizing overall system performance.

First, Atheros increased the instruction memory cache size to 64 kilobytes (KB) to overcome barriers faced by competitive NPUs, which offer only 16 to 32 KB. The entire operating code fits within the AR7100's larger instruction cache, eliminating routine memory fetches to ensure higher system performance.

Additionally, the AR7100 implements a high-speed 32-bit Double-Data-Rate (DDR) memory interface to double the raw memory speed in comparison to general-purpose network processors that use synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM).

To enhance efficiency of memory access, Atheros implemented a five-port dedicated memory architecture, rather than the more common two-port approach. All key system resources (MIPS32(R) 24K(R) processor core, Fast/Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and 33/66 megahertz (MHz) PCI interfaces) have a dedicated memory port that allows direct and simultaneous access.

In Atheros' internal tests, an XSPAN wireless router based on the 300 MHz AR7130 WNPU achieved significantly higher data throughput than a similar system based on a competing 400 MHz general-purpose network processor. For more information about the AR7100 WNPU family, please see the Atheros technical backgrounder titled, "Network Processor Strategy for Maximizing 802.11n WLAN Performance," at: http://atheros.com/pt/bulletins/atheros_WNPU_techbackgrounder.pdf

Custom-Designed for 802.11n and a Wide Array of Multimedia Applications

To support new-generation, triple-play applications, the AR7100 WNPUs offer a rich array of interfaces -- dual Fast/Gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN and WAN connectivity, dual USB 2.0 interfaces for network storage and printing, a PCM interface to support analog and VoIP telephony and an I2S interface to support audio streaming. These interfaces are required to handle the growing number of multimedia applications in the home and enable networking equipment manufacturers to deliver products that support the growing number of multimedia applications in the home and small office.

Atheros' AR7100 family of WNPUs offers a range of code-compatible performance options

-- AR7130 WNPU
-- 300 MHz clock speed (425+ Dhrystone MIPS)
-- Designed for value-tier 2x2 MIMO 802.11n AP/router products operating in the 2.4 GHz band
-- 10/100 Fast Ethernet interface support
-- AR7141 WNPU
-- 400 MHz clock speed (575+ Dhrystone MIPS)
-- Designed for high-performance, 3x3 MIMO 802.11n AP/router products operating in either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band
-- 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet interface support
-- AR7161 WNPU
-- 600 MHz clock speed (850+ Dhrystone MIPS)
-- Designed for highest-performance 3x3 MIMO 802.11n AP/router products with concurrent operation in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands
-- 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet interface support

In addition to supporting APs and routers, the AR7100 family is ideally suited as the host processor for innovative 802.11n network peripherals, like network attached storage servers, digital media adapters and gateways.

"Competing general-purpose network processor solutions found in current 802.11n products are merely adapted for wireless LAN use," said Bill McFarland, chief technology officer for Atheros. "The AR7100 was designed for 802.11n products and is taking them to an entirely new level of performance."

The AR7130, AR7141 and AR7161 WNPUs are currently sampling to key customers. For more details regarding the AR7100 WNPU family, please visit: atheros.com/pt/AR7100.htm . Atheros will showcase its complete line of 802.11n solutions at the 2007 International CES in Las Vegas next week at booth #36524.

About Atheros Communications, Inc.

Atheros Communications is a leading developer of semiconductor system solutions for wireless communications products. Atheros combines its wireless systems expertise with high-performance radio frequency (RF), mixed signal and digital semiconductor design skills to provide highly integrated chipsets that are manufacturable on low-cost, standard complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processes. Atheros technology is being used by a broad base of leading customers, including personal computer, networking equipment and handset manufacturers. For more information, visit www.atheros.com or send email to info@atheros.com

NOTE: Atheros the Atheros logo, XSPAN and Signal-Sustain Technology are trademarks of Atheros Communications, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the sole property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Dakota Lee of Atheros Communications, +1-408-720-5597, or dakota@atheros.com; or Joe Roualdes of A&R Edelman, +1-650-762-2869, or jroualdes@ar-edelman.com; or investors, Deborah Stapleton of Stapleton Communications, +1-650-470-0200, or deb@stapleton.com, both for Atheros

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