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The Players

As you'd expect, there are great hopes for 802.11g, and no one wants to miss the boat. Eventually, all the usual suspects will be in the game, but right now, the early going is being lead by consumer networking product companies.

The real battle, however, is being waged by the wireless chip manufacturers, with Broadcom firing the first shot. Since they came late to the 802.11b party, Broadcom is determined to not miss the 802.11g opportunity. They've been very aggressive in pursuing the market, starting with the pre-emptive strike they launched at last November's Comdex. They not only announced a new chipset, but also a number of wireless product partners, a "54g" branding program, and first product in stores by Christmas! And all this for a standard that's still a work in progress!

Needless to say, Broadcom has stirred things up in the Wireless LAN market, and not exactly endeared themselves to either the Wi-Fi Alliance or the IEEE in the process. Although competitors have been choosing their words carefully so far, the gloves will probably soon come off as products come to market based on Intersil's PRISM GT chipset, and competitors start throwing elbows.

The scorecard changes almost daily, but the table below shows the current chipset vs. end-product lineup. Note that some of the manufacturers listed below have announced, but are not yet shipping draft-11g product:

Chipset manufacturer
Used by
Broadcom
- Apple
- Belkin
- Buffalo Technology
- Linksys
Intersil
- Actiontec
- NETGEAR
- Corega International
- D-Link
- USI
Atheros
- HP (embedded in notebook)
- NETGEAR (tri-mode)
- TRENDnet
Texas Instruments - TNETW1130 chipset announced. Products planned for April 2003
Agere Systems - Tri-mode (a/b/g) chipset announced. Reference designs due Q3 2003.

Revised March 10, 2003

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