Intel Research Merges Centrino with 802.11n

Intel demonstrates its progress toward integrating the next-generation 802.11n protocol into its Centrino wireless chip set.

Intel Corp. will present a paper Friday that will demonstrate its progress toward integrating the current Wi-Fi technologies with the next-generation 802.11n protocol.

At the 2005 VLSI Symposium on Circuits in Kyoto, Japan, Intel executives will present two papers, one on integrating a 2.4/5GHz wireless LAN and a second on a 90-nanometer filter chain. Intel speakers will show off photographs of a prototype chip.

While the papers dont describe a landmark breakthrough, they do provide proof that Intel can take an incremental next step and integrate the 802.11n component into its existing Centrino chip set, according to Manny Vara, a technology strategist with Intel.

Pat Gelsinger, a senior vice president in Intels Digital Enterprise Group, had described a "Radio Free Intel" future in an earlier stint as Intels chief technical officer. The concept imagined a device where one intelligent radio would transmit and receive data using several different protocols.

"If youre talking about doing multiple radios, you first need to combine those pieces into intelligent radios, and then start building all these components into CMOS," Vara said. "Just as important, we have to show that we can integrate these capabilities into future chips." Using a low-cost CMOS process is the easiest way to do that, Vara added.

Todays Wi-Fi radios use 20MHz of analog baseband bandwidth to transmit information across the two frequencies used by 802.11b/g, and 802.11a. Moving to 802.11n will require approximately 100MHz of bandwidth, Vara said.

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