Carrier WiFi

Vivato's Silicon Sugar Daddy

Intel Capital today made an undisclosed investment in the wireless LAN switching startup Vivato Inc. (see Intel Invests in WLAN Startups) -- part of a concerted 802.11 blitz before the chipmaker launches its delayed 802.11b Centrino chipset this Wednesday in New York (see Intel Plots Home-Grown 802.11, Yes, We Have No Banias!, and Intel Denies Dualmode Delay).

Vivato says that it plans to spend Intel's money on developing a next-generation switch that will use, among other things, more Intel silicon (no surprises, there).

The San Francisco-based startup's initial product is an 802.11b (11-Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) "switch" that replaces multiple access points with a single box that provides wireless coverage for an office floor and handles security, access management, and bandwidth allocation tasks. (See Vivato's Switch Bitch and Switch Tiff Heats Up for more on Vivato's product and how its approach differs from some of the other players in this market.)

Vivato launched the enterprise version of this product last month. It intends to launch a version of the same box aimed at carriers looking to offer outdoor, public wireless LAN access, at the CTIA show next week.

The next-generation version of Vivato's switch will be "faster, cheaper, better," claims Phil Belanger, the company's VP of marketing [ed. note: as opposed to slower, more expensive, and worse?]. However, Vivato is not yet saying when it will have the next iteration of its product available.

Vivato will also find itself using more Intel silicon now, as one consequence of the chipmaker's investment. "I'm sure that we will," Belanger says. "That's part of the discussion that you have with Intel."

Intel does not reveal exactly how much it investments in startup companies. (See How Intel Gets Inside for more on its strategy on investing in wireless startups.) The chipmaker has invested in seven WLAN startups so far, since it announced plans to pump $150 million into 802.11-related ventures last October (see Intel's WiFi Wad).

"The goal is to accelerate the deployment of hotspots worldwide," says Intel spokesperson, Dan Francisco [as he lifted up his Golden Gate].

Intel is battling with rivals like Atheros Communications, Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), and Intersil Corp. (Nasdaq: ISIL) -- all of which already have products out there -- to get its new Centrino chipsets in major OEM vendors' notebook computers.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
joset01 12/5/2012 | 12:28:55 AM
re: Vivato's Silicon Sugar Daddy Dan Francisco! (Daniel J. to give him his full title)

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