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Bluetooth Chip Connects Notebooks to WLAN

Intersil and Silicon Wave have announced that development is underway for dual-mode WLAN solutions that allow notebook computers and other handheld devices to wirelessly connect to a company LAN or to companion devices.

The initial platform of the solution will be cardbus32 and miniPCI. The companies aim at generating a series of dual-mode solutions compatible with Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11b, and at employing dynamic switching so that both radios can use a common antenna, resulting in smaller radios compared with two standalone solutions.

Bluetooth technology supports a data transfer speed of 1 Mbit per second (Mbps) in the 2.4GHz band and communication at a range of up to 30 feet indoors – operating conditions that are perfect for synchronizing Web appliances, cell phones or other Internet browsing devices. Systems that comply with the IEEE’s 802.11b standard can operate over 10 times faster (11 Mbps) and at over 5x the range (150 feet indoors).

Engineers from each company are developing a reference design that solves all design, operating and manufacturing issues involved in having these technologies on the same card. This reference design will be delivered to manufacturers who want to move quickly into the production of PCMCIA cards and MiniPCI dual-mode cards.

(February 2001 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)

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