Strong first quarter earnings and a projections above estimates boosted shares of wireless chip maker Atheros Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR) in trading on Tuesday.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker jumped $1.50, or 5.6 percent, to $28.29 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock market.

Strong demand for the company's wireless networking chips, common in notebook computers and consumer electronics, as well wired Ethernet chips helped the firm’s profit. Late Monday, the company reported that first quarter earnings rose 12 percent to 7.6 million, or 13 cents per share.

Revenue in the first quarter was $95.5 million, up nine percent from the $87.8 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2006 and up 56 percent from the $61.1 million reported in the first quarter of 2006.

In a conference call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer Jack Lazar said that for the quarter, the company expects to earn 23 cents to 24 cents a share on revenue growth of 4 percent to 7 percent.

A mix of new products and entries into new markets should help the chip company achieve these numbers, according to Needham & Co. analyst, N. Quinn Bolton.

Beyond core WLAN, Bolton told clients, we believe new products in Ethernet, Bluetooth and Embedded WLAN should drive future growth, as [Atheros]executes its strategy to transform itself into a diversified communications chip company.

The broker maintained its Buy rating for the firm, and raised its price point to $31 from $28 a share.