In August of 2002 AtmelŪ Corporation introduced (http://www.atmel.com/atmel/news/20020821.htm) three new wireless parts to make up their Fast-VirtualNetŪ family of single chip baseband Media Access Controllers (MAC).
The family supports three popular system interfaces: PCMCIA or Compact Flash (AT76C504), USB (AT76C505), and PCI or mini-PCI (AT76C506). The fast-VirtualNetŪ wireless family follows the IEEE 802.11b standard and supports standard data rates <=11 Mbps.
The controllers provide complete processing and functionality to facilitate the Wi-FiŪ certification procedure .
The Fast-VirtualNetŪ wireless family is comprised of the AT76C504/505/506 chips, which incorporate an ARM7TDMI processor using a Atmel's processor architecture to control the on-chip peripherals, manage the internal memory and allocate data queue buffers as well as communicate through the PCMCIA, USB or PCI buses.
This architecture, which includes an integrated baseband controller, is similar to that of previously designed MAC parts. In addition to these features that are supported by Atmel's stand-alone MAC's, they should also support the newer security standards or protocols such as 802.1x, and TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) .
The Fast-VirtualNet family is supported by the various software drivers for operating systems such as such as Win98/2000/Me, WinXP, NT 4.0, Windows CE/PocketPC and Linux. In cases where WHQL (Microsoft Windows Hardware Quality) certification exists, the drivers provided from Atmel to their customers are in a WHQL certifiable state.
All three devices have a seamless interface to the RF Micro DevicesŪ (RFMD) front-end chipset. Together with earlier reference designs, they retain all the key features and benefits of this previous family of products, providing a lower pin count, a more competitive Bill of Material (BOM) along with more reliability and robustness due to the simplicity of the system and software.