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Intel targets 2005 for WiMax roll out

Posted: 10 Sep 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intel? broadband wireless chips? WiMAX reference designs?

Intel Corp. has taken another baby step on its roadmap for broadband wireless chips, saying Tuesday (Sept. 7) that it is sampling its WiMAX chip to "strategic partners" in preparation for a wide-scale rollout in 2005.

Sean Maloney, executive vice president of Intel's Communications Group, made the announcement in South Korea, on the sidelines of Telecom Asia 2004, hosted by the International Telecommunications Union. He declined to say when the chip will ship in volume.

WiMAX, based on the IEEE 802.16 broadband wireless standard, will allow long-range, high-speed wireless Internet access, serving both dense metropolitan areas and rural or suburban communities.

The chip, codenamed Rosedale, represents the first part of a three-phase rollout. Based on the 802.16d version of WiMAX, the chip will be deployed via outdoor antennas that target known, fixed subscribers. After that, probably in 2006, Intel envisions WiMAX chips (802.16e) in notebook PCs. In 2007, they would start to appear in handsets, Maloney said.

In June, Intel said it was joining with Proxim Corp. to develop WiMAX reference designs for fixed and portable broadband wireless access. The deal combined Intel's hardware expertise with Proxim's background in software and systems test and validation.

Maloney also used the forum to push for a spring cleaning of bandwidth in the lower end of the spectrum, around 700MHz, so that WiMAX could be more easily and efficiently rolled out globally. Signals propagate much farther at the lower end of the spectrum, making it desirable real estate because it is much cheaper to deploy networks there than at the higher end of the spectrum.

"We need to free up the spectrum down there. It is occupied by pre- and post-Second World War industries of radio and analog TV. In general, during the next year or two years, spectrum issues are going to be significant, and the world needs to move toward freeing up large amounts of spectrum here for data services across large areas," Maloney said.

He added that WiMAX's role would be complementary in the drive toward ubiquitous networks, and resisted characterizations of it as a direct competitor to 2.5G and 3G deployments. "Certainly people are going to deploy voice over WiMAX. But in large parts of the world there will be a built out, intact infrastructure designed to support voice traffic and a myriad number of cell phones, gadgets, infrastructure and billing systems," Maloney said. "So it's inconceivable that WiMAX is going to replace various types of 3G."

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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