Hi all, I've been on a hardware hacking binge and noticed a new kind of IC in a lot of wireless devices, one that I'd never seen before:
- instead of a plain black surface with white markings, this kind is metallic or plastic and often colorful
- instead of having visible surface-mount leads, this kind has no visible leads and sometimes appears to be glued down
An example, the shiny metal thingy in the lower left corner of this board from a Netgear router:
My best guess is this is some kind of wireless RF transceiver, because it's connected to the antenna. I've heard that 802.11 wireless chips tend to come in pairs, and I already know which chip on this board contains a wireless NIC.
Is my guess correct, that this a wireless RF transceiver? Why do they use this unusual packaging? My only guess is heat dissipation, since the package has an unusually large surface area. What exactly does a wireless RF transceiver do that a wireless "baseband processor" doesn't do... anyone have a link to an article that explains the difference?
Curiously, Dan Lenski