Intel WiMax chip heralds new era for broadband

20 Apr 2005

Intel this week introduced its first WiMax product that will enable equipment manufacturers and carriers to deliver next-generation wireless broadband networks around the world.

In addition, several service providers worldwide announced plans to begin commercial WiMax trials based on Intel silicon products later this year, giving consumers and businesses a glimpse at this emerging wireless high-speed broadband technology. Key equipment providers also announced WiMax solutions based on Intel’s product.

WiMax is a standards-based wireless technology for providing high-speed, last-mile broadband connectivity to homes, businesses and mobile wireless networks.

Intel’s WiMax silicon delivers the features needed to provide cost-effective, high-speed wireless modems for homes and businesses. Initial deployments will enable the delivery of broadband internet access to remote areas not currently served by DSL or cable, and will make it possible to wirelessly connect buildings up to several miles apart. Because it is standards-based, WiMax technology is expected to make it easier and more cost-effective for new and existing broadband users to enjoy wireless internet access.

“As a standards-based, high-speed internet access solution, WiMax can provide the platform for the next generation of internet expansion, connecting the next billion internet users,” said Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel’s broadband wireless division.

“In addition to delivering the first flexible, highly integrated WiMax system on chip, Intel has worked with a number of parties, including carriers and equipment manufacturers, to prepare the industry for the next wave of wireless technology.”

Previously codenamed Rosedale, the Intel PRO/Wireless 5116 broadband interface device is based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard, giving carriers and end users the confidence that equipment from different vendors will work together.

WiMax solutions based on 802.16-2004 enable the creation of high-speed, fixed wireless broadband networks, providing internet connectivity, internet protocol (IP) and TDM (Time Division Multiplexing), voice capabilities and IP-based real-time video at high speeds.

The Intel PRO/Wireless 5116 broadband interface is the first 802.16-2004 system-on-chip optimised for cost-effective WiMax modems and residential gateways. These units may be placed in either homes or businesses to receive and transmit a wireless broadband signal.

Some of the carriers working with Intel to enable a broad ecosystem around WiMax include AT&T (US), Altitude Telecom (France), BT (UK), Brasil Telecom (Brazil), ETB (Columbia), Iberbanda (Spain), Millicom (Argentina), Qwest (US), Sify (India), Speakeasy (US), Telkom (South Africa), Telmex (Mexico), TowerStream (US) and UHT (Ukraine).

In Ireland, wireless broadband carrier Irish Broadband is engaged in a WiMax trial with Intel in Leixlip involving Intel employees and local schools in the area. It is envisaged that Irish Broadband will deploy WiMax-based services at some stage this year.

By John Kennedy