Intel's WiMax Drive

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) says it still plans to launch its first 802.16a chips in the second half of 2004, contrary to reports that the schedule may have been accelerated.

These chips, based on the 802.16a standard and promoted under the "WiMax" brand by the WiMax Forum, will be used in wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) base stations intended to provide high-speed data services at distances of up to 30 miles or so (see Airspan Builds on Intel). WiMax is also being touted as a cheaper way to provide backhaul for 802.11 wireless LAN access points, which normally have to be wired up to an Ethernet or cable network to provide connectivity (see Working for the MAN).

The Taiwan Economic News reports that the chips could be delivered in the second quarter of 2004, which could mean a late spring or early summer launch, rather than a rollout much later in the year.

But Intel company spokesman Dan Francisco is sticking to the party line: "What we've said publicly is that we will launch in the second half of '04."

When Intel releases its initial WiMax chipset is important, because the silicon sumo is actually driving the adoption of a viable 802.16 wireless MAN standard via the launch. "We expect to be first to market with standardized WiMax silicon," notes Francisco.

As Unstrung has reported before, the 802.16 standard -- as it stands -- is "impossible to implement." Intel's infrastructure partner Alvarion Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR) told us back in October that there are several different ways that the 802.16 spec could be interpreted and that it has fallen to the WiMax Forum to tease out a workable specification out of the confused standard (see A Conflicted MAN?).

Alvarion, however, has since backed away from the suggestion made in the October piece that there could be several different specs delivered by the Forum. The firm recently told Unstrung that there will be only one spec.

All of which leaves Intel in the driving seat at the inception of a market that some analysts see as potentially huge (see Visant: 802.16a Is the Future). The vendor clearly doesn't intend to be late to the wireless MAN party in the same way it was with wireless LAN and the Centrino 802.11 chipset launch.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

FastFourier 12/5/2012 | 2:46:44 AM
re: Intel's WiMax Drive My view on 802.16# ( where # is some letter a-d)
is that WIMAX is 802.16a, but to know what compliance to 802.16a "really is" requires following the 802.16d (also known as "revD") procedures for testing compliance.

Since, 802.16d is a pending standard, no one can claim compliance to "a" or "d" or "revD" yet. (This is what makes the Intel claims on "first to market" a somewhat suspect wish).

The Fujitsu soc chips have a higher certainty attached as they have been aligned with those having fundamental PHY patents in the two way wideband OFDM intellectual property arena for several years. Intel just came to the party recently.

The reality of course is that however the 16d definition of 16a / WIMAX is finally expressed it would be best if it was lab validated against some early chipsets so that everyone can agree on what it really means in implementation for broad market distribution. This in turn means that it will be late spring / summer before the certainty on the defintion is clear. (And by then Intel, AMD, et.al. will have obtained the IP cores for their chipsets, and it will be a chip foundry race not a marketing one, despite Intel's best assertions.)

Agility tends to be the domain of the small, so I think it will not be Intel who is truly first.

It is good for the industry to have articles like UNSTRUNG's as it garners attention to the space.

However, it really needs to be presented in a broader way.
FastFourier 12/4/2012 | 11:09:50 PM
re: Intel's WiMax Drive I somehow doubt Intel will be truly be "first".
that is the spec sheet for an 802.16a SOC chipset,
the hardware basis for WiMAX.

What stage is Intel's spec sheet at?

Perhaps it depends on how one defines "first". "First among equals" is perhaps more to the point.

Now, in your article there were some 'weasel' words like first "certified compliant" to market but then the ieee ratification on the 802.16 certification process is not possible until July or so, so the Q1 teaser in your article has to be wrong.

The final date in the schedule is 2004 July for the published spec. There might
be enough 802.16d info as early as April or May 2004
for those inside the ieee process. see http://wirelessman.org/tgd/sch...
also review www.wilan.com/news/wirelesswor...

Interesting, eh?


attwi2002 12/4/2012 | 11:09:06 PM
re: Intel's WiMax Drive WiMax and 802.16 confuse us. There is a standard called 802.16a but products from the 802.16a vendors still do not interoperate (standard?). On top of that, 802.16REVd have so many difference in OFDMA PHY I it will make 802.16a obsolete (per my sources)

So, who will deploy 802.16a when RevD will obsolete it?

Meanwhile, WiMax is talking about mobility with 802.16e (using 20-50MHz... who can afford that?). 802.16 favours wireless broadband, but let not fool ourselves. It's fixed wireless DSL and may become a suitable play for backhaul for mass transports, such as the 'U' and doubledeckers.

With 802.16RevD and the hype around .16e, we favour sitting on the sideline to see the uptake among PTT and if the licensed mobile operators dare going with an obsolete .16a or wait for Revd or .16e. Or, go with Flarion (FDD) and 802.20 or IP Wireless for TDCDMA (TDD) who have commercial solutions available.

Either way, 2004 will be the 'year of broadband wireless.'

mjvlists 12/4/2012 | 11:08:52 PM
re: Intel's WiMax Drive
Interoperability is not an issue yet because only one or two companies have announced fully 802.16 compliant products.

The RevD version when announced will require some tweaking of 802.16a products, but it is likely those changes can be made in software at the MAC level.

The people who will deploy 802.16a are those who need to start deploying now, can benefit from the features in the those products now, and cannot wait for new standards, and for vendors who may be years away from shipping a standards compliant product.
lrmobile_chester 12/4/2012 | 11:07:56 PM
re: Intel's WiMax Drive Standards and interoperability will eventually win. Which will prove interoperablity first?802.16 or 802.20 or ???
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