Taiwanese network equipment suppliers to benefit from Intel-supported speedy wireless network chip

Dec 17, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 17, 2003 (CENS)--Taiwanese network-equipment suppliers are expected to benefit from Intel's recent promotion of a speedy wireless network format dubbed as WiMax, which it launched with 50 world leading wireless-technology titans including Nokia and Proxim early this year.

Intel plans to roll out the first WiMax chip in the second half next year. Taiwanese network-equipment suppliers including Zyxel Communications Corp., Ambit Microsystems Corp. and Askey Computer Corp. are expected to make a fortune from the chip by designing the chip into their wares.

WiMax runs on 802.16a wireless broadband standard, which offers greater range and bandwidth than the Wi-Fi family of standards including 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. Wi-Fi is intended to provide coverage within a relatively limited area such as an office or a hotspot whereas WiMax can transfer data over a distance of 50 kilometers to thousands of users from a single base station.

The most commonly used 802.11b-based Wi-Fi standard has a maximum data transfer speed of 11 megabits per second (mbps) and a range of up to 1,000 feet in open areas. By comparison, WiMax runs data at around 70 mbps.

Intel and its WiMax partners are promoting the development of 802.16 wireless broadband standard, which the IEEE modified early this year to perform as a wireless metro area network technology that will connect 802.11 hot-spots to the Internet and provide a wireless extension to cable and digital subscriber line for last mile broadband access.

By using WiMax wireless equipment, consumers in Taiwan, for example, can connect themselves to the Internet without dropping all the way from Taipei to Kaohsuing. But a Wi-Fi user surfing the Internet within a McDonald fast-food store will lose the connection once they step out of the store.

Intel forecast WiMax to be a major role in accelerating growth of wireless broadband access market as Wi-Fi does in boosting wireless local area network (WLAN) market. The gigantic chipmaker planned to push WiMax telecommunications specifications in Taiwan with leading telecom providers including the state-run Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd.

Taiwanese network-equipment suppliers expected WiMax availability to rise sharply in 2005 in the wake of intensive rollouts of various applications next year. They planned to begin WiMax equipment with consumer premise equipment (CPE) and expected the equipment to see wide acceptance with handheld gadgets such as mobile phones and notebook computers as soon as its prices go down and power-guzzling problem is overcome.
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