A new class of programmable, application-specific processors (ASPs) is emerging as an alternative to ASICs and FPGAs in applications where current DSPs do not have the processing capacity, I/O structures, or MAC layer support, to handle high bandwidth data. Designers are being offered ASPs for such diverse
application areas as color image processing and wireless broadband networks. This paper will discuss the cost, time-to-design and performance tradeoffs that
these new embedded system processors offer the designer, taking as a specific example the implementation of the 802.11a wireless
networking standard at the MAC and physical layer.