Intel to Ship WiMAX Products in 2004

Intel says it will produce both 802.16 and 802.11 wireless silicon, and that the two are complementary, not competitive.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Intel Corp. will produce integrated products that meet the 802.16 WiMAX specification by mid-2004, executives said Wednesday.

In a press briefing at the Intel Developer Forum here that was designed to acquaint reporters with Intels communications initiatives, Shane Wall, director and general manager of the Emerging Platforms Lab at Intel, said the company will produce both 802.16 and 802.11 wireless silicon, and that the two are complementary, not competitive.

In July, Intel announced its intention to develop 802.16a silicon in a joint partnership with Alvarion, a manufacturer of wireless equipment. 802.16 networks satisfy the "last mile" portion of a communications infrastructure, with the capability to transfer data at up to 30 miles at data transfer rates that approach 70M bps.

"A lot of people tried to take 802.11 and expand it to wider areas, with a lot of [resulting] deficiencies," Wall said. "WiMAX is 802.11 designed from the ground up. We expect to be first to market with integrated 802.16 by midyear, and systems and products by the end of next year."

Intel also manufactures 802.11b silicon, with 802.11a/b silicon due by the end of the year. In 2004, Intel will ship its "Sonoma" platform, the second generation of the Centrino platform that includes the Banias mobile processor, the Odem chip set and the Calexico 802.11b wireless card, according to Don MacDonald, director of marketing for Intels Mobile Platforms Group.

The Sonoma platform will include the next-generation Dothan chip with a larger 2M-byte cache, the "Alviso" chip set with third-generation Intel Graphics, support for DDR-2 memory and PCI Express, as well as the "Calexico II" wireless card, which will support 802.11a/b/g, the 802.11i security specification and Ciscos second-generation Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX), MacDonald said.


Although executives at rival Broadcom Corp. have claimed that their products are a year ahead of those developed by Intel, MacDonald said that the "experience" of using Intels silicon will be better than its rivals, as the company has had more experience testing the Calexico silicon against a number of access points.

The 802.11 and 802.16 products will be complementary, said Eric Mentzer, vice president of the Intel Communications Group and its chief technology officer. "The initial plan isnt to backhaul 802.16 [directly] to 802.11 hot spots," he said. "802.16 will go to the house, and 802.11 will be used inside the house."

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