Qualcomm Atheros

Qualcomm Atheros

Qualcomm Device Drivers

Qualcomm Atheros is a developer of semiconductors for network communications, particularly wireless chipsets. Founded under the name Atheros in 1998 by experts in signal processing from Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley and the private industry, the company went public in 2004.

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.

Wilocity, a fabless semiconductor company found by ex-Intel employees in 2007, was purchased by Qualcomm in July 2014, and absorbed into Qualcomm Atheros. Qualcomm Atheros thus gaining know-how for IEEE 802.11ad (60 GHz).

Atheros was co-founded in 1998 by Teresa Meng, professor of engineering at Stanford University and a researcher in digital signal processing and radio frequency technology, and John L. Hennessy, then provost and now president of Stanford University. The following year, Atheros named Rich Redelfs as president and CEO. In 2000, Atheros publicly demonstrated its inaugural chipset, the world's first WLAN implemented in CMOS technology and the industry's first high-speed 802.11a 5 GHz solution.

In 2002, Atheros launched the first dual-band wireless solution, the AR5001X 802.11a/b.

In 2003, Atheros named Craig Barratt president and CEO. That year the company shipped its 10-millionth wireless chip.

In 2013, Qualcomm named Amir Faintuch as SVP and General Manager for Qualcomm Atheros.


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. Under Qualcomm Atheros, 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.

Qualcomm Atheros began 2012 by announcing 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.


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.