Wimax chips to offer long-distance broadband

Intel told forum delegates it has developed its first Wimax wireless broadband chips.

Intel told forum delegates it has developed its first Wimax wireless broadband chips.

Intel has already made a splash in the corporate market with its Centrino laptop chip, which allows internet access via public wireless hotspots and corporate campus networks. But Centrino only operates at short ranges and is not designed for long-distance point-to-point connectivity between buildings.

Wimax, also known as the 802.16-2004 standard, has a maximum data speed of 75mbps and can operate over distances of up to 50km. The standard has been approved by several wireless Lan suppliers and Intel is set to be the first firm to provide a silicon chip for user premises, including access points.

Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel's broadband wireless group, said, "Wimax will make it possible to build cost-effective, high-speed wireless connections for firms and remote workers in urban or rural environments."

As well as being relatively easy to self-install, Richardson said the technology would help fill a broadband connectivity gap in areas without a DSL or cable broadband link.

The first chips, codenamed Rosedale, will be with manufacturers for interoperability testing next year. The first commercial kit with integrated Wimax should appear by the end of 2005.

However, firms considering Centrino should not be put off by the impending arrival of Wimax as widespread mobile Wimax products incorporated into laptops are several years away, according to analyst firm Gartner.

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