Broadcom combines 11n WiFi, Bluetooth, FM radio on one chip

Combo chip designed for mobile phones


Broadcom Monday is unveiling a chip that packages 802.11n, enhanced data rate Bluetooth and FM radio for mobile phones.

The new BCM4329 is the first Broadcom product to support high-throughput 11n Wi-Fi on handsets. The chipmaker's earlier 11abg/Bluetooth/FM chip is in production in several commercially available products.

The 65-nanometer chip supports 11n in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and can run simultaneously in both. Given the constraints of handset size and power, the chip supports only one 11n data stream and one antenna, compared with notebooks or access points that typically support two or possibly three streams, each with a corresponding antenna. The chip's Wi-Fi performance maxes out at 50Mbps of wireless throughput, according to the vendor. That's still nearly twice the throughput of 11a or 11g Wi-Fi.

It supports Bluetooth data rates of 1M, 2M and 3Mbps, based on the Bluetooth 2.1 specification with enhanced data rate. The  chip uses Broadcom algorithms to all Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to operate at the same time in the 2.4GHz band, and to use a shared antenna system.

To minimize power requirements, Broadcom has used several techniques to reduce both active and idle power consumption.

The chip supports FM transmit, enabling the chip to stream music between devices; and FM receive, enabling a handset to work as standard FM radio.

The chip is available for sampling to selected customers, with production quantities available in 2009.

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