It feels like just yesterday that I was finishing up the review of Bigfoot Networks' Killer Wireless-N 1102, but in fact it has been a whole three weeks. My, how time flies! We noted in the review that Bigfoot was using Atheros hardware with their own custom firmware, software, and drivers. It looks like Bigfoot has managed to attract enough attention with their efforts that Qualcomm (who already purchased Atheros earlier this year) has decided to gobble them up...er...bring them into the fold.

In a brief note on the acquisition, Qualcomm Atheros states that they believe "Bigfoot’s technology and expertise will help to deliver an enhanced end user networking experience. With Bigfoot’s technologies, Qualcomm Atheros will be able to deliver its customers with intelligent solutions for managing multiple, rich-media streams for a superior online experience across online games, streaming HD video and audio and real-time communications."

We're actually quite interested in seeing the result of this acquisition, as Bigfoot could certainly benefit from additional resources, and we'd love to see improved networking hardware on more laptops. If we get more 5GHz enabled laptops at lower prices, that will be great. Bigfoot's Killer 1102 Wireless-N chip impressed us with generally better overall performance compared to the competition, and we look forward to seeing where Qualcomm takes their expertise—Killer networking in a tablet/phone SoC, anyone?

As for existing Bigfoot Killer Ethernet and Wireless-N owners, Qualcomm Atheros will continue to support them. In other words, it's business as usual, but Bigfoot has undergone a change in office location and at some point in the future we should see the fruits of this merger.

Source: Lewis PR Correspondence

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  • landerf - Thursday, September 01, 2011 - link

    This will be nice if it leads to more widespread performance increases in mobile devices. Before this Atheros may have been the common wireless NIC but you'd go with say Intel if you wanted something of quality. This will either eliminate their competition or spur them on to step it up. May also help Killer get more desktop recognition and go more mainstream. The XENO pro is only $40 right now. That's $3 more than Intel's cheapest PCI-E NIC. Even if you adamantly believe these cards don't do crap I'd say it's worth the $3 bucks for the software at least. Reply
  • TypeS - Saturday, September 03, 2011 - link

    Except that the XENO pro helping gaming pings was absolutely atrocious other networking aspects, such as file transfer speeds, when compared to a generic on board Realtek LAN alternative. Reply
  • Insurgence - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I have to say that I have similar feelings to Landerf. I have generally always been a PC tech of some form, and working with Atheros has always annoyed me. I will admit that most of the time they worked, but that is it. What I would run into would be support issues in general. Lack of finding drivers, especially when dealing with older models of wifi adapters was an issue I ran into frequently with my last job. And it got worse when they were rebranded for the OEM, cause many times even the hardware and vendor id's were changed. Making finding drivers even harder.

    Hopefully this will help them become more mainstream. Intel needs a stronger competitor in the OEM market as a the performance/feature option (and continued support), plus someone needs to push the addin wifi market to have better software or drivers.
    Reply
  • bersl2 - Monday, September 05, 2011 - link

    "Lack of finding drivers, especially when dealing with older models of wifi adapters was an issue I ran into frequently with my last job."

    Funny, because in the dark days before a unified 802.11 stack, Atheros hardware probably had the best chance of working with both older and newer cards. Just pull the latest Madwifi code and compile. Sure, there were intense arguments about the binary HAL module on the mailing lists, but—

    Oh, wait, you're probably not talking about Linux. Silly Windows driver development model which encourages the existence of an infinity of slightly variant, mostly incompatible drivers for hardware using the same damn chipset. :)

    "And it got worse when they were rebranded for the OEM, cause many times even the hardware and vendor id's were changed. Making finding drivers even harder."

    Oh, yes, *certainly* they must have been in a position to demand that manufacturers who used their chipsets always use correct PCI and USB IDs...

    OK, but seriously, how is that the fault of Atheros (who make the chipsets) that subvendors (who put the chips on boards, cover them in plastic, and brand their name all over the place) do what they naturally do best, which is to erase as much of a trace of the underlying hardware as they can?

    (I say "best", but read it as "least worst" or "least incompetently".)
    Reply

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