WLAN System unifies wired and wireless infrastructure.

Press Release Summary:

Suited for 802.11n enterprise wireless networks, Unified WLAN System comprises BCM56520 unified wireless switch, Intensi-fi® BCM4748 802.11n access point SoC with Accelerange(TM) technology, and FASTPATH® Unified Wireless Switching 6.0 software. BCM56520 incorporates up to 28 GbE ports and 6 HiGig2(TM) ports that can interconnect with other devices, while BCM4748 combines 802.11n MAC, baseband processor, dual-band radio, MIPS74K® CPU, GbE MAC, power amplifiers, and other WLAN components on single die.

Original Press Release:

Broadcom Accelerates Enterprise Wireless Networks With Industry's First End-to-End Unified WLAN Solution

New Combined Silicon and Software Offering Provides Improved Scalability, Automated Network Management and Better Performance for Enterprise WLANs

IRVINE, Calif., May 19 /-- Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced the industry's only end-to-end unified silicon and software solution for 802.11n enterprise wireless networks. By combining its industry-leading wireless LAN (WLAN) silicon, switch silicon and networking software, Broadcom provides a complete platform for OEMs to design and bring to market a unified wireless network solution. This highly integrated, low power enterprise WLAN solution enables seamless mobility around the office while delivering the same network management, scalability, security, performance and cost advantages of a wired network.

According to ABI Research, the 802.11n access point market is expected to reach 14 million units by 2014, up from less than a million units in 2008, which translates to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 105 percent(1). This growth is due to the greater mobility that the 802.11n standard provides in the enterprise, as well as its ability to provide a more robust wireless network that can support numerous Wi-Fi(R)-enabled devices such as VoIP handsets, smartphones, desktop PCs and laptops.

Most enterprise wireless networks in existence today have been grafted onto an existing wired network using an overlay approach in which all WLAN traffic is tunneled to a centralized access controller where it is de-encapsulated and authenticated before entering the wired network. While this approach is workable for 802.11a/b/g networks, it creates bottlenecks in higher bandwidth 802.11n networks because it treats wireless as a special service running over the network rather than an inherent feature of the network itself. For 802.11n-based networks, IT managers need a WLAN architecture that provides maximum bandwidth and capacity without reducing efficiency or straining budgets.

To meet this challenge, Broadcom delivers a new approach that unifies an enterprise's wired and wireless infrastructure and enables an enterprise Wi-Fi network to provide the scalability, automated network management and robust performance that will drive the adoption of 802.11n in the enterprise. This solution includes several new products: the Broadcom(R) BCM56520 unified wireless switch, the Intensi-fi(R) BCM4748 802.11n access point (AP) system-on-a-chip (SoC) with Accelerange(TM) technology, and FASTPATH(R) Unified Wireless Switching (UWS) 6.0 software optimized for unified wireless switching and unified wireless APs.

"While 802.11n improves Wi-Fi performance and expands wireless connectivity into new applications, it requires a new unified network architecture to avoid inefficiencies and traffic bottlenecks," said Martin Lund, Vice President & General Manager of Broadcom's Networking Switching Business Unit. "Our expertise in wired and wireless networks makes us uniquely positioned to address this challenge. Not only are we the first to develop the silicon building blocks necessary for a unified network architecture, we are also the only vendor with software specifically designed to support it. With a unified wireless network, all of the performance, scalability and expense benefits of the traditional wired network are now available to support wireless traffic."

The BCM56520 Unified Wireless/Wireline Switch

The new BCM56520 is the sixth generation of Broadcom's popular StrataXGS(R) Ethernet switch family and is a highly integrated multi-layer switch designed to address new and emerging enterprise applications. It is the first true unified wireless/wireline switch that enables edge stackable systems to offer the performance and scalability previously available only with high-end wireless controllers.

The BCM56520 enables manufacturers to create edge switches at cost points that make a unified wireless network possible without the need for special or additional components. This is done by supporting CAPWAP tunneling in silicon for access point and mobility domain connectivity. The BCM56520 incorporates up to 28 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports and six HiGig2(TM) ports that can interconnect with other Broadcom devices for developing scalable, high performance fixed and modular systems.

The BCM4748 Integrated 802.11n AP SoC

The new BCM4748 is a complete solution that accelerates time-to-market and reduces development costs for a variety of enterprise 802.11n access points. It is the industry's only AP solution that combines an 802.11n medium access controller (MAC), a baseband processor, a dual-band radio, a MIPS74K(R) CPU, a GbE MAC, power amplifiers and other WLAN components on a single die. The highly integrated BCM4748 reduces the number of components required to build an enterprise class 802.11n AP, significantly reducing the footprint while lowering bill-of-materials (BOM) costs.

In turn, networking manufacturers can bring the increased performance and range of the 802.11n standard to the enterprise at price points that are competitive with current 802.11a/b/g solutions. The 65 nanometer BCM4748 also enables simultaneous dual-band 802.11n APs to be powered using existing Power over Ethernet (PoE) infrastructure without having to add extra ports to support dual-mode operation or upgrading to PoE+ capabilities.

FASTPATH Unified Wireless Switching and Unified Access Point Software

The unified, end-to-end WLAN platform is managed by Broadcom's popular FASTPATH Unified Wireless Switching (UWS) and Unified Access Point (UAP) networking software. The latest version, FASTPATH 6.0, incorporates wireless virtualization software that enables centralized management for unified edge switching (rather than controller-based switching). This provides better scaling in the network by virtualizing the entire WLAN so it can be managed through one switch interface although the duties are actually distributed to all the switches in the network.

This latest release of FASTPATH software is also optimized to drive wireless voice in the enterprise and supports additional capabilities necessary for enterprise-grade voice over WLAN (VoWLAN). FASTPATH UWS/UAP eliminates the need for third party software or in-house development, which leads to a faster time-to-market. FASTPATH UWS is also available in source code format which enables customers to integrate Broadcom networking software it into their existing internal switching operating system or use it as a standalone for an out-of-the-box solution.

Availability and Pricing

Broadcom's end-to-end unified wireless solution for the enterprise, featuring the BCM56520 switch, the BCM4748 802.11n access point SoC and FASTPATH 6.0 networking software are all sampling to early access customers. Pricing is available upon request.

About Broadcom

Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry's broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything(R).

Broadcom is one of the world's largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2008 revenue of $4.66 billion, holds over 3,300 U.S. and over 1,300 foreign patents, and has more than 7,500 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, data and multimedia.

A FORTUNE 500(R) company, Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at +1.949.926.5000 or at www.broadcom.com.

1) ABI Research, Wi-Fi Equipment Market Share Analysis and Forecasts, March 2009.


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