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WiFi design claims 300Mbps throughput

Mar 13, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Fabless network processor vendor Cavium has teamed up with WiFi software specialist Arada on a Linux-based 802.11n WiFi networking reference design claimed capable of 300Mbps throughputs. The design uses Atheros's “XSPAN” technology, and targets both enterprise and in-home applications, including video streaming and triple-play gateways.

Several years ago, Cavium collaborated with WiFi chip vendor Airgo on a demonstration of what was claimed at the time to be the first 108Mbps WiFi implementation. Now, Cavium claims that the performance attributes of its Octeon CN30xx family of network processors enable 802.11n performance that outstrips the competition in WiFi throughput, while leaving lots of cycles for packet inspection or other application processing. The chips cost $20 to $125, have one or two MIPS64 cores, and have previously been marketed with Linux-based network routing software stacks from Team F1.

The 300Mbps design incorporates Atheros's AR5008 WiFi chipset, said to feature “draft 802.11n XSPAN technology.” XSPAN appears to be a MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) strategy based on a “3 x 3 transmitter/receiver architecture.”

Atheros AR5008 chipset architecture diagram

The design also includes Cavium's 2.6-based Linux implementation, along with Arada Systems's proprietary “Enterprise Stack” WiFi implementation. The Arada stack is said to support dual concurrent 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz operation, and to support a “flexible split-MAC architecture based on native WiFi.”

Cavium and Arada claim their implementation achieves 180Mbps with a single 2.4GHz radio is used, or 300Mbps with a dual-radio setup.

Kishore Jotwani, director of product marketing at Atheros, stated, “Cavium's processor with Arada Systems's software enhancements provides not only high .11n throughput levels, but also high-grade security and QoS, while supporting expanded enterprise applications.”


The joint Cavium/Arada design for Atheros's AR5008 chipset appears to be available now. Pricing was not disclosed.

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