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Intel Wows With Dual-Mode WiMax Chip

Intel Corp. is set to announce a client chipset that supports both the fixed and mobile versions of the WiMax wireless broadband technology.

Arguably WiMax's biggest cheerleader, the company is working to make the case for the technology with a chipset roadmap that targets devices ranging from video games to digital cameras -- the idea being that if the clients are there, the carriers will come.

WiMax comes in two basic flavors -- one for fixed wireless and one for mobile. The fixed version, handily known as 802.16d-2004, was designed to be a replacement or supplement for broadband cable access or DSL. A more recently ratified version, 802.16e-2005, also can support fixed wireless applications, but it allows for roaming among base stations as well. Thus the two standards are generally known as "fixed WiMax" and "mobile WiMax."

Intel already sells a fixed WiMax chipset called Rosedale, for use in boxy residential modems. At the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) 2006 conference in Washington this week, the company will unveil Rosedale 2, which has the capability of working both in the 802.16d and 802.16e modes.

The chip is meant for use in residential gateways and modems, but the company also is exploring its use in picocell base stations. While Intel has a history of outsourcing its early wireless efforts, Rosedale 2 was "painfully designed in house," says Yung Hahn, general manager of the WiMax product division at Intel.

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