Intel & Linksys facilitate home networking

Home and small office users have largely failed to invest in wireless technology. However, Intel has teamed up with Linksys, a newly acquired division of Cisco Systems, to encourage uptake in these environments.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  August 31, 2003

Technology integration|~||~||~|Although wireless networks are being increasingly deployed in enterprise and hotspot environments throughout the region, home and small office users have largely failed to invest in the technology. However, Intel has teamed up with Linksys, a newly acquired division of Cisco Systems, to encourage uptake in these environments.

The two parties have agreed a programme to jointly deliver marketing and technology, with the aim of simplifying the implementation of wireless networks in home and small offices, as well as improving performance and operation.

The joint technology project is aimed at facilitating the relationship between Intel’s Centrino mobile technology, which can be embedded into user notebooks, and Linksys’ wireless products, such as access points.

“Intel and Linksys have committed to work on new ways to maximise wireless performance and enhance wireless connectivity as part of the programme. This includes plans to develop technology that will allow notebook PCs based on Intel Centrino mobile technology to detect the presence of Linksys wireless products and configure them with minimal effort by the end user,” says Toni Prince, business development manager, telecoms & ISPs, Intel Middle East & North Africa.

Currently, users have to manually configure notebooks to use them in wireless environments. The Intel/Linksys developed products, however, will incorporate software that minimises the user’s role in implementing and operating a wireless local area network (WLAN).

“The current development to build software into Linksys access points and routers and Centrino-based devices will help with a near zero configuration,” says Karen Sohl, manager corporate communications, Linksys.

While Sohl says more details will be available on the software when it is ready to ship in products, Prince claims that solutions incorporating the advanced technology should be available next year.

Furthermore, Linksys will begin shipping Centrino verified products in Europe from September and, although Sohl has no specific Middle East dates, she expects solutions to hit the region at a similar time. “All current Linksys wireless access points and wireless routers will be verified with Centrino-based products... Linksys will also get future access points and routers verified, as products are available,” explains Sohl.

Sohl also believes the Intel/Linksys verified products will help to encourage uptake in the consumer and home markets in the Middle East. Price and the ease of use of the products will prove key selling points in this space.

“Linksys has built its reputation on easy to use products that are affordable. Teaming with Intel helps take their strength in software development and our strength in wireless products to create devices that ensure a better experience for the consumer,” she explains.

The latest development work between the two parties follows on from similar projects, which have seen Intel’s IXP4xxx family of network processors integrated into Linksys’ products.

“Linksys and Intel have been working together on many other programmes, including the joint development of our recently announced wireless-B media adapter and the use of Intel Network Processors in ‘to be announced’ Linksys products,” says Sohl.

Although Linksys was recently acquired by Cisco, Intel’s strong relationships with the both parties have enabled the development projects to be maintained. Furthermore, the relationship between the various parties looks set to continue as Linksys looks to facilitate the creation of wireless networks in all manner of environments.

“Linksys and Intel will continue to work together on the verification of Linksys access points, routers and future products. We will also work together on software that will further enhance the set up and use of wireless networks at home, in a hotspot or in the office. [Additionally,] the two companies will continue to work together to educate, market and innovative to add more value to their networks at home,” claims Sohl.||**||

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