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1-chip access point reference design supports Linux

Sep 25, 2001 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Irvine, CA — (press release excerpt) — Intersil Corporation, a leading developer of silicon technology for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs), announced it has developed the industry's first complete access point-on-a-chip reference design for wireless networking that combines an ARM9-based Medium Access Controller (MAC) with an Open Source Linux operating system.

With full access to the Linux operating system, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will be able to add currently available applications or custom features within the Linux space to differentiate their product and add specific value. This is the first time that the access point has been opened up and represents a significant shift in the ability of OEMs to add their own unique value and respond quickly to their customer's needs. The unique design of the PRISM ISL36356A represents the most highly integrated access point (AP) reference design available for wireless applications in the home, small office, enterprise and public areas such as hotels and airports.

Intersil has created an AP Developer's Kit that contains all the necessary components that allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to rapidly bring a customized product to market. The kit includes . . .

  • Reference design (pre-tested to help ensure Wi-Fi and regulatory approvals)
  • Open Source operating system that interfaces to the MAC core
  • Customization instructions for adding additional features
  • Configuration software (allows easy access and setup of the AP from client PC)
  • Easy and fail-safe firmware upgrade mechanism
  • End-user documentation
  • Manufacturing test tools
The ARM9 processor easily handles the Wi-Fi and Ethernet traffic, with processing power reserved for customer applications as well as future standards; such as Quality of Service (IEEE 802.11e) and enhanced security extensions (IEEE 802.11i).

The open source Linux platform provides basic building blocks that extend AP functionality and enables OEMs to quickly develop customized feature sets by providing royalty-free access to a wide variety of user applications. Manufacturers can easily develop a layered security system, Internet sharing, NAT, DHCP, user tracking, publan utilities, remote access and control, and literally hundreds of other features available through open source repositories or custom developments.

PRISM is a highly integrated, low-cost solution for designing Wi-Fi-compliant, embedded wireless networking capability into small, portable computing devices such as laptop PCs, Personal Digital Assistants, home gateways, and next generation Web Pad Internet appliance devices. Optimized for high data rate (11 Mbps) performance, PRISM-based systems are feature-rich and provide fast, reliable performance in all types of networking environments. Advanced design and process technologies reduce power consumption, design complexity and total system cost. PRISM-based products provide users with wireless access to networks and the Internet for fast and efficient transmission of data, video and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

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