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LAN chips provide wireless local area network (LAN) connectivity in a system-on-chip platform. A LAN chip is a device on an Ethernet network that broadcasts information and provides Ethernet functions, including PHYceivers and media access control (MAC). Ethernet is a system for connecting computers within a building by using hardware running from machine to machine. The hardware that connects the computers is LAN chips and wiring. LAN chips can also encrypt and decrypt packets as they are sent or received without increasing latency for unencrypted packets.

LAN chips are also available as a wireless chip, which has a wireless communication system built entirely in it. These types of LAN chips transfer high-definition files. Wireless chips can provide broadband connections over several miles, unlike short-range wireless fidelities (WI-Fis) used in specific locations. LAN chips, such as mobile WLAN chips, enable WiFi connectivity to mobile devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, and MP3 players. LAN chips for wireless communications commonly use a Direct-Sequence Spread-Spectrum (DSSS) bit pattern (chipping code), which enables receivers to filter out signals, such as noise and interference, and also signals that don't use the same bit pattern. Chipping codes used in LAN chips identify data so that the receiver can recognize that it belongs to a particular transmitter, and then only those receivers can decipher the data.

A system-on-chip (SOC) is a chip that can be constructed rapidly using third party and pre-designed behavioral or physical descriptions of a standard component. SOCs use a technology that packages of all the necessary electronic circuits and parts of a complete chip system into one integrated circuit. These types of LAN chips are application-oriented processors that target specific device categories, resulting in set-top-box, mobile phone, and portable media device processors. SOCs can improve device performance by eliminating delays that are caused by the absence of buses for interchip communications.