Intel rolls out dual-band Wi-Fi chip

Intel has rolled out its Pro/Wireless 2100A chip, which will give Centrino notebooks an 802.11a connection.

Intel has rolled out its Pro/Wireless 2100A chip, which will give Centrino notebooks an 802.11a connection.

The chip allows notebook users to connect to 802.11a networks, which operate on a higher frequency than the more popular 802.11b networks already supported by Intel's Centrino technology.

The 802.11a networks operate in the 5GHz range, which transfers data at faster rates with less interference but over shorter distances than 802.11b networks.

Most consumers have opted for 802.11b or 802.11g networks, which operate on the widely used 2.4GHz frequency. The 802.11g networks and 802.11a networks both allow data transfer speeds as high as 54Mbps, but results are often closer to 20Mbps.

The 802.11a standard is expected to be used in corporate environments or in home media networks.

The Pro/Wireless 2100A chip supports both 802.11a and 802.11b connections. Intel is working on a chip that supports both 802.11b and 802.11g networks, and expects to ship that chip to PC manufacturers before the end of the year, with systems available in the first half of next year.

A chip that supports all three standards is expected to follow in the second half of 2004.

Intel declined to release pricing information for the 2100A chip, although it is likely to be more expensive than the existing 802.11b Pro/Wireless 2100 chip.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service


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