Qualcomm Atheros is a developer of semiconductors for network communications, particularly wireless chipsets. Founded under the name T-Span Systems in 1998 by experts in signal processing and VLSI design from Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley and private industry. The company was renamed Atheros Communications in 2000 and it completed an initial public offering in February 2004 trading on NASDAQ under the symbol ATHR.
On January 5, 2011, it was announced that Qualcomm had agreed to a takeover of the company for a valuation of US$3.7 billion. When the acquisition was completed on May 24, 2011, Atheros became a subsidiary of Qualcomm operating under the name Qualcomm Atheros.
Qualcomm Atheros chipsets for the IEEE 802.11 standard of wireless networking are used by over 30 different wireless device manufacturers.
In January 2011, Qualcomm agreed to acquire Atheros at $45 per share cash. This agreement was subject to shareholder regulatory approvals. In May 2011, Qualcomm completed its acquisition of Atheros Communications for a total of US$3.7 billion. Atheros became a subsidiary of Qualcomm under the name Qualcomm Atheros.
After the acquisition, the division unveiled the WCN3660 Combo Chip, which integrated dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and FM into Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. Qualcomm Atheros launched the Skifta media shifting application for Android and released the first HomePlug Green PHY solution at the end of the year.
In 2012, Qualcomm Atheros announced a Wi-Fi Display product at CES 2012, along with a new chip for HomePlug AV power line networking. At Mobile World Congress 2012, Qualcomm Atheros demonstrated a suite of 802.11ac enabled products. This included the WCN3680, a mobile 802.11ac combo chip targeting smartphones and tablets. In June 2012 at Computex, Qualcomm Atheros added new 802.11ac products.
WLAN – Qualcomm Atheros offers wireless connectivity solutions, including their Align 1-stream 802.11n chips, and the XSPAN 2-stream with SST2 and 3-stream with SST3 chips for 802.11n. The Align 1 also supports WLAN for mobile with up to 150Mbit/s PHY rates for smartphones and portable consumer electronics. Qualcomm Atheros also offers legacy WLAN designs for 802.11a/g.
PAS/PHS – In March 2005, Atheros introduced the AR1900, the world’s first single-chip solution for PHS (personal handyphone system), which was widely deployed in China, Japan and Taiwan at the time. PHS, or personal access system (PAS) as it is known in China, was a digital TDMA-TDD technology operating at 1.9GHz providing high-quality voice, advanced data services, and long battery life.
Power line communication (PLC) – Qualcomm Atheros is a member of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. Its AMP brand of powerline chips support the IEEE 1901 global powerline standard that supports high-definition multimedia and real-time gaming at a 500Mbit/s PHY rate. Low powered chips, such as those built for HomePlug Green PHY, are targeted toward smart grid and smart home applications.
Ethernet – Qualcomm Atheros offers the ETHOS line of Ethernet solutions, as well as the low-energy EDGE line, which supports the IEEE 802.3az-2010 Energy Efficient standard.
Hybrid Networking – Qualcomm Atheros' hybrid networking technology, Hy-Fi™, integrates WLAN, PLC, and Ethernet technologies. The technology, which complies with the IEEE 1905.1 standard for hybrid home networking, is capable of detecting the optimal path for data to be transferred at any given moment.
Location Technology – In 2012, Qualcomm Atheros announced its IZat location technology. The technology uses multiple sources, such as satellites and WLAN networks, to pinpoint the location of the user.
Bluetooth – Qualcomm Atheros offers Bluetooth chips for a variety of platforms. The company also offers integrated combo WLAN and Bluetooth chips.
PON – Qualcomm Atheros delivers broadband access technology in the form of passive optical network (PON) technologies. End-to-end gateway solutions incorporate standards such as IEEE 802.3ah, multiple-channel, software-based, digital signal processing for the G.711 and G.729 ITU standards for VoIP, and TR-156 Broadband Forum PON standard.