Ralink Creates First WLAN Intelligent Network Interface Card on a Chip

Ralink Technology, Corp. announced the launch of Ralink’s RT2880 SoC (System on a Chip), the iNIC (Intelligent Network Interface Card) solution for:

  • Access points/router designs
  • Broadband platforms
  • Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridges
  • Dual band concurrent routers

The RT2880 combines Ralink’s MIMObility(TM) draft 2.0 802.11n technology with a powerful MIPS processor to enable total wireless LAN offload from the host CPU.

The consumer’s appetite for wireless bandwidth is growing and 802.11n is meeting that demand by providing wireless connectivity with PHY rates up to 300 Mbps and actual data throughput of up to 170 Mbps. However, many current wireless routers, Cable/DSL modems, and set top boxes lack the CPU power to support 802.11n’s high throughput capabilities. Enter RT2880′s unique chipset solution, which features iNIC architecture that connects to a host processor’s PCI/Ethernet interface and handles all of the 802.11n processing. The host CPU only needs to run a simple Ethernet-like driver, which saves precious processing power for value added applications.

The RT2880 is a SoC that integrates Ralink’s 300 Mbps 2T3R (two transmit, 3 receive) Baseband and Media Access Control (MAC) chips with a MIPS4K CPU. The RT2880 supports the latest 802.11i security features including Wi-Fi Protected Setup, 802.11e quality of service (QoS) features including WMM and WMM-PS for prioritization of voice video and data. It also supports both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands when used with Ralink’s transceivers RT2850 and RT2820, respectively.

The RT2880 iNIC accelerates time to market by providing existing wireless LAN platforms an easy upgrade path to 802.11n. In addition, The RT2880 can be used as a standalone Wi-Fi Router, Access Point, Ethernet Bridge by adding SDRAM, Flash, and a 10/100 Gigabit Ethernet PHY or switch.

The chipset is fully backward compatible with the existing industry wireless standards such as 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. The new chipset is currently available with an 802.11n “iNIC” miniPCI evaluation board to add to legacy platforms, or in a stand alone AP/Router reference design.

“The RT2880′s innovative iNIC architecture will accelerate the adoption of 802.11n into the market,” said Rick Jeng, Executive Vice President of Ralink Technology. “With the RT2880, we are delivering the ideal 802.11n solution to our customers to maximize the WLAN experience.”

About Ralink Technology Corporation
Ralink Technology Corporation is a leading innovator and developer of wireless LAN chipset solutions. Ralink 802.11x chipsets are recognized for superior through hput, extended range, low-power consumption and consistent reliability demanded by Wi-Fi, mobile and embedded applications. These feature-rich chipsets have a high level of chip integration for client and AP solutions for CB, miniPCI, PCI and USB interfaces, enabling customers to build smaller and more sophisticated mobile wireless products cost-effectively. Ralink’s patented MIMObility(TM) technology extends Wi-Fi applications from traditional PC networking to a range of digital multimedia and handheld devices including cell phones, PDAs, cameras, print servers, HDTV and video game players. Ralink customers can look forward to continuous improvements in speed, bandwidth and reliability with emerging 802.11n solutions for next-generation high-performance Wi-Fi. Ralink Technology was founded in 2001 with headquarters in Hsin-chu, Taiwan and an R&D center in Cupertino, California.