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Single-chip WiFi radio supports Linux

Jun 9, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Conexant Systems is shipping a 68 square millimeter single-chip 802.11b/g radio designed for battery-powered handheld device applications. The CX53121 targets mobile phones, VoIP handsets, cameras, MP3 players, gaming consoles, and GPS gadgets, and supports Linux, according to the company.

Conexant claims the one-chip WiFi radio delivers throughput and range comparable to any typical 802.11b/g client networking device, despite its low power consumption. Its specs include output power as high as 19.5dBm, and sensitivity below -90dBm.

Conexant says its implementation of “intelligent power control,” including 802.11's PowerSave mode, results in deep sleep current on the order of 10 microamps, and average current consumption during power save of 0.6 milliamps, while maintaining association with the network.

The CX53121 includes industry-standard SDIO (secure digital input output) and SPI (serial peripheral interface) connections. Additionally, coexistence with Bluetooth devices is also supported, and the two radios can share an antenna, the company says.

Key features and functions listed by Conexant include:

  • Extremely small footprint
  • Ultra low-power consumption
  • Fully compliant with the IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g WLAN standards
  • Support for 54, 48, 36, 24, 18, 12, 9, and 6 Mbps OFDM; 11 Mbps and 5.5 Mbps CK; and legacy 2 Mbps and 1 Mbps data rates
  • Single-chip 802.11b/g WLAN solution, including fully integrated ZIF transceiver and VCO
  • High-speed A-to-D and D-to-A Converters
  • Energy Management Unit (EMU)
  • OFDM and CCK baseband processor
  • ARM9 MAC
  • SPI to advanced high-performance bus
  • (AHB) bridge serial host interface
  • SDIO to AHB bridge serial host interface
  • Passive components integration
  • PA bias control
  • Glueless front end module interface
  • Intelligent power control, including 802.11
  • PowerSave mode
  • Fully integrated Bluetooth coexistence

The fabless semiconductor company says it provides software support for a range of popular application processors and operating systems, including Linux, Windows CE, and Windows Mobile.

“The enhanced level of integration in the CX53121 represents an important advancement in wireless LAN technology for handheld platforms, and aligns with our strategy of delivering advanced solutions for low-power, embedded applications,” said Chee Kwan, senior vice president and general manager of Conexant's Wireless Networking business.


The CX53121 is fabricated using 90 nanometer CMOS technology, and packaged in a low profile ball grid array (LFBGA). Development kits and sample quantities are available now, with volume quantities scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2006. The company did not disclose pricing.

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