Broadcom Claims Against Atheros Backed Up

Last month, there was a big splash when Glenn Fleishman and Nancy Gohring broke the story that Broadcom was accusing Atheros’ “Super G” of degrading performance of other nearby wireless networks. As Glenn and Nancy pointed out at the time, one of the two companies was going to come out of the mess looking badly. However, despite promised evidence the following week at Comdex, the situation has been pretty quiet ever since. Now, Nancy has noticed that there’s more support for Broadcom’s claims. Tim Higgins has done a set of very detailed tests himself and found that, indeed, the Broadcom claims are true. However, there’s also a Part II to the tests, where Tim determines that there’s a bit more to the story. By testing another non-Broadcom 802.11g chipset against the Atheros Super G he determined that the system seems to impact Broadcom’s chipset more than others. He believes that the problems are simply a result of Atheros rushing to market with the product too quickly, and thinks they should admit that there were some problems, fix them, and move on. In the meantime, customers are still rushing to buy faster and faster WLAN solutions, even if they’re never going to get or use the throughput promised on the box. Addendum from Derek: This kind of business practice is one of the risks of unlicensed frequencies. Did Atheros do it on purpose or not? We likely won’t ever know, but the answer to the following question is easier: How motivated is Atheros to fix it?

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