What Manufacturers Use Atheros for Their Wi-Fi Chipset?

By James Lee Phillips

Since 2001, the Atheros name has been found on countless Wi-Fi adapters and wireless routers.
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Atheros, known as Qualcomm Atheros since 2011, enjoys name recognition that extends from mainstream consumer products to major tech and telecommunications "backbone" companies. With competition from such names as Intel and Broadcom, it may be too glib to say that it would be quicker to list the tech companies that don't use Atheros chipsets. However, early adoption and continued innovation of various Atheros technologies has resulted in partnerships with a long list of major manufacturers.

Atheros Chipsets

Atheros is primarily known for 802.11 wireless local area network chipsets, having led the industry in WLAN innovations such as CMOS-based Wi-Fi, 5 GHz speeds, MIMO, dual-band technology and 3G Wi-Fi integration for mobile devices. Atheros also develops wired Ethernet products under the ETHOS brand, power-line communications products as part of its AMP line, and integrated hybrid connectivity under the Hy-Fi brand. Additionally, Atheros produces chipsets offering location technology (iZat), Bluetooth solutions, as well as WiMAX and passive optical network (PON) broadband technology.

Partnership With Sony

Atheros began in 1998 as a joint project of Stanford Engineering professor Dr. Theresa Meng and Stanford provost (now president) John Hennessy. Within two years, the company had received the first-ever Microsoft certification for 5 GHz wireless, opened a joint branch in Tokyo, and brought its first two products to the retail market. One was an Ethernet gateway, the other a mobile wireless adapter card, and both were by Sony -- a company that continues to use Atheros chipsets to this day..

The First Decade

In 2011, telecom Qualcomm company acquired Atheros. At this time, manufacturers using Atheros chipsets included major computer and consumer electronics companies such as the aforementioned Sony as well as Fujitsu and Toshiba. Consumer networking companies such as Netgear and D-Link had adopted Atheros chipsets for use in routers and adapters, along with PC component manufacturers such as Gigabyte. Atheros was also used by companies with less immediate mainstream recognition but arguably more tech industry clout, including telecommunications giants such as Nortel, NTT and NEC.

Atheros Manufacturers Today

Although chipset competitors such as Intel and Broadcom command a considerable market share, Atheros Qualcomm continues to hold the prominent place among wireless semiconductor manufacturers. [reference 7] In addition to the partners listed above, vendor databases and current offerings on e-commerce sites such as Newegg and Tiger Direct reveal Atheros chipsets in products by companies such as Linksys, Cisco, Samsung, TP-Link, Dell, Nvidia and VisionTek.