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Johanne Torres[October 26, 2004]

Intel Invests in WiMAX


Intel (quote - news - alert) and Clearwire (news - alert) -- billionaire Craig McCaw's wireless broadband services company -- just announced they will jointly develop and deploy wireless broadband capabilities using WiMAX (define - news - alert) networks. This investment will surely help WiMAX go on as an emerging wireless standard that will eventually provide high-speed broadband connectivity for both fixed and mobile wireless networks.

According to the agreement, Clearwire plans to deploy WiMAX networks using wireless broadband equipment from NextNet Wireless (a Clearwire subsidiary) which includes future Intel silicon products. Both companies are teaming up now to later develop products and services which support the upcoming IEEE 802.16e standard for WiMAX solutions found in both infrastructure equipment and notebooks.

The new partnership will surely wire some monetary incentives in Clearwire’s bank account. Intel is making a significant investment in Clearwire from Intel Capital, Intel's strategic investment program. The investment is part of Intel Capital's strategy to invest $150 million in wireless technology to help accelerate adoption of high-speed wireless networks. However, it is yet to be known how big of a chunk Clearwire will get from the $150 mil.

"WiMAX technology has spawned a global community that continues to gain momentum, and we as an industry have achieved some important milestones this past year," said Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Communications Group. "Craig and his team have helped shape the communications industry over the past two decades. Their vision, energy and leadership will help us achieve the promise that WiMAX technology offers: widely available, high-speed wireless connectivity using extremely high volume low-cost technology based on open standards," added Maloney.

The alliance with Clearwire builds upon Intel's " Rosedale," its upcoming wireless broadband chip for WiMAX products based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard (previously known as IEEE 802.16REVd). Rosedale is Intel's first "system-on-a-chip" solution for cost-effective customer premise equipment (CPE) supporting that early standard.

Two months ago Clearwire launched its first broadband wireless network in Jacksonville, Fla. The network, using NextNet technology, is a predecessor to upcoming WiMAX networks using technologies very similar to WiMAX and offers comparable features that are expected to be available in a full-scale WiMAX network. It provides high-speed broadband wireless service throughout most of the greater Jacksonville area.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at jtorres@tmcnet.com.


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