Intel Launches “N” WiFi



EE Times reports Intel has announced production shipments of its draft 802.11n wireless modules, and at least four notebook makers are expected to announce systems next week using them. In addition, the company has certified five makers of access points as compatible with its “Kedron” chips.

Acer, Asus, Gateway and Toshiba will announce notebooks using Intel’s 11n module with the official release of the consumer version of Windows Vista January 30. Asus, Buffalo, Belkin, D-Link and NetGear will ship 11n access points wearing a new “Connect with Centrino” logo showing they have been tested with the Intel module.

Intel provided no details about whether the largest notebook makers—Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard– will use its .11n modules. Cisco Systems subsidiary Linksys is “evaluating” the Intel interoperability program for access points, said Dave Hofer,

Intel claims its 11n module is compliant with the IEEE 1.10 draft issued at a meeting in London last week. However, the module, in its initial version, will not support bonding two 20 MHz channels together in the 2.4GHz spectrum to achieve higher data rates.

The 1.10 draft allows the channel-bonding option if client systems test to make sure the full 40MHz band is available. Hofer said Intel will run additional tests to see whether it wants to support 40MHz channels at 2.4 GHz in future versions of its module. The module does support 40MHz channels in the 5GHz band.

The Intel module supports 2×3 and 2×3 MIMO antenna configurations, provides sustained 125 Mbit/second data rates and can transfer a 19 Mbit/second high definition video stream up to 68 meters. It includes four chips–two analog front end devices believed to come from third parties, and an RFIC and baseband made by Intel.

The 4965AGN module (pdf) supports twice the range and five times the throughput of Intel’s current .11abg module, Hofer said. “11n will support whole home coverage with the ability to handle high definition video,” he added.

The module delivers up to an hour more battery life than some competing 11n products, Hofer said. However, the company did not detail the exact power consumption of the module.

EE Times also reports that the IEEE 802.11n task group’s near-unanimous approval of a revised draft standard has made vendors and OEMs confident that products will achieve interoperability.

The only significant change was a mandatory polling of the 2.4-GHz band to check for legacy 40-MHz services that might interfere with 802.11n services, particularly high-bandwidth services using bonded RF channels.

Intel is expected to overhaul its notebook products with Santa Rosa, a new platform that will feature 802.11n and cellular wide-area networking. Compared with today’s Centrino, the new Santa Rosa design will run faster, use less juice and load applications twice as fast thanks to NAND flash-based disk cache. Its Crestline graphics chip supports DirectX 10. Santa Rosa will arrive in the first half of 2007, perhaps in March.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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