Intel Gets Into Fixed Wireless
Intel, which is a member of the 802.16-oriented WiMax Forum, says that its decision to produce silicon based on the recently ratified standard should cut component prices for vendors looking to make kit using the specification rather than proprietary systems (see Working for the MAN).
"Basically, having manufacturers like Intel come into this space and build products to a standard should cut costs for base station manufacturers," says Tom Potts, a spokesman for the chipmaker.
The 802.16a specification is a fixed, non-line-of-sight wireless MAN spec that operates in the 2GHz to 11GHz bands. The data transfer speed available to the end user depends on how much bandwidth is available. People involved with the specification have initially suggested that equipment could be designed to provide anything from 10 to 70 Mbit/s over a range of five to 30 miles, depending on configuration. This figure may become clearer when vendors actually start to produce equipment based on the spec. The WiMax Forum expects the first boxes out in 2005.
This will give Intel some time to get its chips together. Potts says the company will design and make all the silicon itself, but doesn't have a timeframe for production yet. Nor would he comment on whether the design had "taped out" -- a key step in the manufacturing process, when the actual design is completed and the technical information required to manufacture silicon chip samples is sent to the foundry.
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung