Privately-held Airgo Networks Inc. said on Wednesday it has developed wireless chips that are more than four times faster than Wi-Fi, a short-range wireless technology that delivers the Web to laptop computers in homes, offices and public places.

The chips could improve wireless home networks and may eventually let consumers link televisions and send video throughout a house.

According to analysts they also put Airgo well ahead of Wi-Fi chip suppliers such as Atheros Communications Inc. (ATHR.O: Quote, Profile, Research), Broadcom Corp. (BRCM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Intel Corp. (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research), which helped popularize Wi-Fi by having it built into laptops.

In particular, Linley Group senior analyst Bob Wheeler said, the chips could hurt Atheros, which competes most closely with Airgo with gear that is about twice as fast as standard Wi-Fi.

“It will hurt Atheros’ ability to grow its revenue because Airgo now has the highest performance product in the market,” Wheeler said.

Airgo, which already sells its earlier generation chips through the Linksys unit of Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and others, has pioneered a technology known as multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) that improves data speeds by sending radio signals from three antennas simultaneously.

It expects its latest chips, which rival Wi-Fi but can still work in a Wi-Fi network, to go on sale before the end of the year in products including wireless communications cards for computers and network gear with wireless Web links.

Airgo Chief Executive Greg Raleigh said he expects initial demand to come from consumers who use wireless laptop Web links but want higher speeds before replacing the wires linking desktop computers in different rooms at home.

The new chips, which cost about 15 percent less to make than Airgo’s earlier offerings, may even let some wireless networks perform better than some wired ones, said Raleigh. Several manufacturers plan to make products with the new chips, he said.

The new MIMO chips can reach speeds of 240 megabits per second (mbps) compared with the fastest Wi-Fi chips, which can reach speeds of 54 mbps. In a working network both technologies deliver roughly half their peak speeds on average.

Airgo’s current products average speeds of about 40 mbps to 50 mbps, or two to three times slower than the new ones.

As consumer electronics manufacturers start to include MIMO in products such as televisions and set-top boxes, analysts expect the technology to be used by consumers to connect televisions in different rooms of their house.

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