Intel drops plans for Wi-Fi access point in Grantsdale

Intel no longer plans to turn its latest batch of chipsets into wireless access points, citing a lack of interest from PC...

Intel no longer plans to turn its latest batch of chipsets into wireless access points, citing a lack of interest from PC suppliers and the proliferation of standalone access points.

The Grantsdale chipsets, formally known as the 915G/P and 925X chipsets, were rolled out in June and billed as a major change in the technology that connects a PC's processor to its memory and I/O functions.

Grantsdale added support for the PCI Express interconnect technology, DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory, and improved audio. The company also touted a feature called Intel Wireless Connect that would let a PC host a wireless network.

In June, Intel said the technology was not ready to launch with the rest of the chipset, but said it would arrive in limited quantities later on in the year. That will no longer happen, an Intel spokesman confirmed. The decision is not related to any manufacturing issues with the technology; PC suppliers just simply did not want it, he said.

Home users are increasingly interested in setting up wireless networks within their homes. Some broadband internet service providers (ISPs) such as SBC Communications offer discounted wireless access points along with the installation of a broadband internet connection.

Intel's access point was expected to be a bare-bones model without many of the features and performance of standalone access points, analysts said when Intel unveiled its plans last year. Given the success that ISPs and PC suppliers have had selling standalone access points, it is unclear whether PC suppliers would have seen any additional demand for an integrated access point to justify the higher cost of that feature.

Not content with dominating the market for PC processors, Intel has moved in recent years to emphasise the total "platform" within a PC, including the processor, chipset, wireless technology, display technology, and several other areas outside of its usual strength.

Adding features such as a wireless access point allows Intel to improve the margins on its chipsets, a strategy that has worked very well for Intel when it comes to features like integrated graphics.

But little has gone as planned for Intel in 2004. The company has endured product introduction delays across almost all of its segments, manufacturing glitches, and persistent questions about the architectural direction of its desktop and server processors.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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