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WLAN-on-a-chip targets Linux devices

Mar 22, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

NXP (formerly Philips semiconductor) will soon ship what it claims to be the “world's smallest” WLAN SoC (system-on-chip). The 5-mm-square BGM220 integrates RF, baseband/MAC, and ARM7-based processing functions, features “ultra low power consumption” optimized for handheld applications, and is supported with Linux drivers, according to the company.

NXP said the BGM220 builds on its predecessor, the BGW211, but offers a “significantly smaller form factor and highly optimized dynamic power management.” The device is packaged in an 81-pin TFBGA measuring 5 x 5 mm, versus the BGW211's dimensions of 10 x 15 mm. The BGM220 facilitates the deployment of a complete, semi-discrete WLAN system implementation within 100 square millimeters of board space, according to the company.

BGW211 block diagram
(Click image for larger view)

The BGM220 includes both the RF and Baseband/MAC functions with an SDIO/SPI host interface. A built-in ARM7 processor offloads WLAN-related tasks from the host processor.

NXP says the BGM220 meets key WFA (Wi-Fi Alliance) interoperability requirements including WPA2 and WMM, and supports all relevant enterprise security requirements with CCX extensions. Additionally, the SoC supports simultaneous Bluetooth and WLAN connectivity through a single antenna.

According to NXP's VP of Business Line Connectivity, Paul Marino, “The proliferation of wireless networks is enabling manufacturers to develop new and engaging multimedia devices for a range of different end users. As such, a greater range of non-traditional handheld devices, including personal media players and handheld game consoles, are being enabled with WLAN capabilities.”


Sample quantities of the BGM220 are expected to be available in Q2 of 2007, with production quantities coming in Q4. Pricing was not disclosed.

In addition to supporting Linux, NXP said it also provides drivers for Symbian, Windows CE, and Windows Mobile.

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