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Intel's whiff of WiMax

WiMax moves a step closer as Intel announces technical details of broadband chip.

Intel has released technical details of its upcoming wireless broadband chip (codenamed Rosedale) for WiMax products. The wireless standard will enable long-distance, high-speed internet access for homes and businesses. Intel has begun sending samples of the chip to key customers.

The upcoming component is expected to be the first system-on-a-chip design for cost-effective customer premises equipment (CPE) that supports WiMax (also known as IEEE 802.16-2004 and previously known as IEEE 802.16REVd). CPEs are placed at a home or business to transmit and receive a wireless broadband signal providing internet connectivity.

“High-speed DSL and cable broadband access are only available to a fraction of computer users globally,” says Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel’s Broadband Wireless Group. “WiMax will make it possible to build cost-effective, high-speed wireless connections to homes and businesses be they in urban or rural environments. Intel has focused its WiMax development efforts on making it easier and more cost effective for the next generation of computer users to wirelessly access the high-speed internet,” he explains.

Intel insists that the Rosedale chip has been designed with a high level of integration, in an effort to streamline the design process and reduce the cost of CPE. Rosedale will comprise the 802.16-2004 MAC and OFDM PHY, an integrated 10/100 MAC and inline security processing. It will also include a TDM controller interface which enables applications such as broadband internet streaming data and voice.

Integration of these features reduces the size of the electronics since there are fewer chips required, and speeds up the validation and testing of the device, according to Intel.
This will allow system designers to develop CPEs more quickly and easily. Lowering CPE costs makes it more affordable to businesses and Intel hopes will drive broad adoption.

As the Rosedale wireless broadband interface supports the newly ratified IEEE 802.16-2004 standard, Intel says it will make it easier for carriers and end users to select equipment from different vendors. The WiMax Forum, an industry group set up to test and certify interoperability among WiMax products, is expected to hold initial interoperability testing and certification programmes in 2005.

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