Intel to develop chip for broadband wireless apps

Intel is looking to boost its wireless networking push with the development of chips that will be the building blocks in broadband wireless networking equipment that could replace existing last-mile networking technologies, such as cable and digital subscriber lines.

The announcement is the latest in a string of moves by the chip maker to push wireless computing applications.

The chips, which Intel would only describe in a statement as a "silicon product," will be based on the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802.16a standard approved in January for WMANs (wireless metropolitan area networks) used to connect homes, businesses and wireless LAN hotspots. Networks based on the 802.16a standard are expected to have a range of up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) and throughput of up to 70M bits per second, Intel said.

Intel will jointly develop the chips with an Israeli company, Alvarion, which will incorporate them into its own line of broadband wireless access systems now under development, the companies said in separate statements. No details were given for when the chips would be available or when Alvarion would begin shipping its broadband wireless access systems.

The WMAN chips will complement a range of Intel products targeted at wireless networking applications, including Centrino, which bundles the company's Pentium M processor with a wireless LAN chipset; Intel Pro/Wireless cards and access points, and its line of IXP4XX network processors.

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