Intel to invest US$150 million in Wi-Fi companies

Intel Corp. will invest US$150 million in companies developing 802.11b and other wireless networking products, the chip maker announced Tuesday.

The money, coming from the $500 million Intel Communications Fund established three years ago, should help accelerate the deployment of wireless networks and proliferate the 802.11b standard worldwide, Intel of Santa Clara, California, said in a statement.

The fund will invest in companies developing hardware and software products and services that enable user friendly and secure wireless network connections, simpler billing procedures, a robust infrastructure and new ways to connect while on the road, Intel said.

802.11b, or Wi-Fi, is a standard for wireless LANs operating in the 2.4 GHz spectrum offering transmission speeds up to 11M bits per second (bps). The technology is used for public hotspots at airports, hotels and conference centers as well as by companies and consumers who use it for wireless networks in the home or office.

An increased uptake of wireless LAN will benefit Intel. The chip maker in the first half of next year will launch a chip, codenamed Banias, that has built-in support for both the 802.11b and 802.11a wireless LAN technologies. 802.11a is a standard for wireless LANs operating in the 5 GHz frequency range with a maximum data rate of 54M bps.

The Intel Communications Fund has already invested about $25 million in over 10 companies in the WLAN space, Intel said.

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Joris Evers

Computerworld
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