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Issue #2003 - 09 (March 2003)
(Updated Mar. 19, 2003)


WiFi News This Week

1. Intel's Introduces Centrino Chip Platform
Several PC makers (Gateway, Dell Computer, IBM, Fujitsu, and Toshiba) are showing new models incorporating the new chip with WiFi on board. Centrino has superior power management and allows longer operation without battery recharge. (6-7 hours). Intel is planning to spend some $300 million in marketing Centrino. 

Intel's main rival, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) today announced the Athlon XP-M, its own mobile chip built for low power consumption and wireless Internet access. Fujitsu PC and Sharp have already committed to using it in their notebook lineups in Japan.

Then there is chip-maker Transmeta (last making waves three years ago with a new chip introduction, but in apparent hibernation ever since), which has retooled and now concentrates on producing chips specifically designed for mobile computing. It is about to release a chip called Astro, which the company says will execute eight instructions per clock cycle (compared with four instructions per clock cycle on competing chips from Intel and AMD). In theory, the Astro will be able to do twice the work in the same amount of time as its rivals. Transmeta, whose chips are manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor, has signed up Hewlett-Packard for Tablet PCs, 

2. UWB (Ultra Wide Band) Poses a major threat to Bluetooth
It appears from backroom vendor discussions that Intel and Sony were considering UWB a superior technology for personal area networks for synchronization among PDAs, TV setup boxes, computers etc. Allied Business Intelligence estimates that UWB, to be designated IEEE 802.15.3a, will likely generate $1.39 billion in revenue by 2007. The IEEE will not make its decision until June at the earliest, but there is a consensus that UWB has emerged as the clear winner from this week's meetings: The technology was used by 95 percent of the proposals submitted, according to Ben Manny, an Intel director of wireless technology development.

UWB is simpler, cheaper, less power-hungry, and times faster than Bluetooth (currently the leading WPAN technology), adopted by makers of cell phones and PDAs, as well as by companies such as Microsoft and Apple Computer. To its critics, UWB might be a major source of interference in neighboring bandwidths. Most radio transmissions operate in narrow bands of frequency. Cell phone broadcasts, for example, use about 100MHz at a time. The pulse of UWB, in contrast, is tens of thousands of megahertz wide and infiltrates into bandwidth already occupied. UWB supporters say that the wave has so little actual power that it does not pose any interference threat. Some of the proposals companies submitted were based on UWB's original characteristics of a single, very wide wave. Other companies were more innovative, submitting proposals based on breaking the wave into segments measuring a few thousand megahertz each: XtremeSpectrum offered a proposal which assigned the wave to two different segments of spectrum (Motorola, which once had two different proposals in the running, backed the XtremeSpectrum plan). Intel proposed assigning the wave to 14 different areas. The difference between the two types of proposals is not performance -- both would operate at about the same speed, transmitting data at 100 megabits per second over a distance of 10 meters. Rather, some countries may place restrictions on portions of the large swath of bandwidth that America's FCC last year set aside for UWB. 

3. Wi-Fi Alliance to certify security specifications Soon 
The Wi-Fi Alliance said it expected to certify the specifications of its Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security protocol by May. WPA is a subset of the 802.11i security standard, yet to be approved by the IEEE. The alliance expects approval from the IEEE during the third quarter. One month after that the group will begin its certification program. Products with 802.11i-standardized security features should be available later in the fourth quarter. Once approved and certified, the 802.11i standard will be called WPA2 and will be backward compatible with WPA.

4. Broadcom lands major Dell deal
Dell Computer has decided to equip its enterprise notebooks with key networking technology from Broadcom. Broadcom will provide several components to be built into Dell's forthcoming Latitude D-Family notebook series, among them a 54g WLAN chipset, Gigabit Ethernet controllers, modems, and chipsets supporting 802.11a and 802.11g. The Dell deal is a significant win for Broadcom.  

5. Europe's Wi-Fi wars heat up
See other item in this newsflash.

Source - Several, including TechWeb, 802.11 planet and Fierce 80211

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Major news in this sector is in the evolution of WiFi hotspots in UK and Europe. Intel continues to be a major player in Wi-Fi with its Centrino launch a few days back and ongoing funding of many Wi-Fi startups as well as joining hands with bigger players like IBM and AT&T (Cometa Networks).

 Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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