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Tiny WiFi chips target low-cost devices

Jan 4, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 20 views

Ralink Technology says it is now sampling a pair of single-chip 802.11b/g/n wireless networking subsystems. The RT3080 targets mobile devices and offers Linux support, while the RT3070 interfaces via USB, and targets PCs, access points, and other devices, Ralink says.

(Click here for a larger view of Ralink's RT3080)

Ralink claims that the RT3080 will “drive the mass adoption of WiFi,” with its low price and low power consumption. Available in FC (Flip Chip) or 76-pin QFN (quad flat package no-leads) packaging, the chip draws 300mW in full-speed receiving mode, the company claims. Ralink touts the chips' high integration, with on-chip gain-selectable low noise amplifier (LNA) and on-chip LDO (low drop-out) regulators, which are said to support adaptive transmit output power and power amplifier bias control. The RT3080 appears to interface with the host processor via SDIO.

Ralink's RT3070

The RT3070, meanwhile, is a USB-connected single-chip product in a tiny 9mm x 9mm QFN 76-pin package. High throughput and extended range with a single antenna are both touted. Like the RT3080, the RT3070 supports WPA and WPA2 security, WiFi Protected Setup, and 802.11e and WMM QoS.

As for driver support, Ralink says the RT3080 will be available in a reference design kit that provides “complete, turnkey mobile WiFi solutions” with Windows CE 6.0 support. The RT3070's reference design kit will include driver support for Windows Vista, XP, 2K, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Reference kits aside, it's likely that both chips will be offered with driver support for the full gamut of mobile and desktop operating systems, since Ralink's support website says “we offer drivers for Linux, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, and Intel IXP environments for all Ralink WLAN chipset solutions.”

Previous Ralink chipsets have also received open source Linux drivers via the rt2x00 Open Source Project.


The RT3080 and RT3070 are currently being sampled by early access customers and will be in mass production in the first quarter of 2008, according to Ralink. Pricing was not provided but is “available upon request.”

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