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Intel débuts three-in-one radio chip

Intel débuts three-in-one radio chip

No need for wires - you can switch between WiFi, to WiMAX and still watch TV all on a single chip!

Intel has announced that it is to start commercial production early next week of a software-defined radio chip capable of switching between WiFi, WiMAX, and DVB-H.

The three-in-one chip could theoretically be used to access your WiFi network at home; switched to WiMAX for when you're out on the road (pending anyone actually bothering to create a nation-wide WiMAX network for you to use, of course); and turned to the DVB-H mode when you fancy a bit of on-the-go digital TV.

Jeff Hoffman, system architect for Intel's Wireless Communication Labs, makes the reasonable point that “there are too many radios” in modern hand-held devices. With each chip costing money to make and taking up valuable space and power there's certainly something to be said for integrating as much as possible on to combined-purpose chips.

The chip will consume approximately 79mW of power when in use, which is a significant energy saving compared to having two or three different radio chips in use at once. It's a shame that the same can't be said for size: at 24mm² the chip takes up approximately equal space to individual ASICs for each function.

While certainly buzz-word compliant, it's interesting that Intel has made the choice to go for broke and support an as-yet largely unadopted technology with WiMAX; I would imagine that most users would have preferred a Wifi/Bluetooth/DVB-H all-in-one chip. That said, it's perfectly possible that the gamble will pay off should various planned large-scale WiMAX rollouts ever materialise.

Still hoping for the promised all-in-one PDA with access-everything-everywhere capability? Give us your thoughts via the forums.

7 Comments

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liratheal 14th December 2007, 16:49 Quote
There was me thinking WiMAX was a dead idea..

Blind hope?
Tim S 14th December 2007, 16:50 Quote
I don't think it's ever going to be a big hit in the UK, as we've got high-speed 3G, which drops down to Edge or GPRS when you're not in a 3G-enabled area. With WiMAX, you drop out of the WiMAX zone and you have nothing.
liratheal 14th December 2007, 16:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
I don't think it's ever going to be a big hit in the UK, as we've got high-speed 3G, which drops down to Edge or GPRS when you're not in a 3G-enabled area. With WiMAX, you drop out of the WiMAX zone and you have nothing.

Where I work we certainly get a lot more requests for 3G cards/dongles than even inquiries about WiMAX, if we start seeing it in the laptops we ship to customers that's just going to confuse them even more, which means (selfishly) I'll have to deal with more people phoning in almost in tears (And that has actually happened to me before now).
DXR_13KE 15th December 2007, 03:27 Quote
i think free or cheap nationwide WiMAX would be awesome..... but that is me..
devdevil85 15th December 2007, 06:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
I don't think it's ever going to be a big hit in the UK, as we've got high-speed 3G, which drops down to Edge or GPRS when you're not in a 3G-enabled area. With WiMAX, you drop out of the WiMAX zone and you have nothing.
WiMAX is supposed to (from what I've read on it) solve the "last mile" issue for major ISPs, and should be able to bring high-speed internet access into any neighborhood, along w/ being able to allow internet access to almost any part of the house.

This sounds really great, but with only a "maximum 30-mile radius" per tower, it's going to have to offer much more in speed/versatility before anyone will even think about using it in mobile devices that support/will support 3G. I think it's a great idea, but with as long as this has been talked about, I don't think it has much of a chance unless it is implemented sometime soon.....

With the increase in wireless speeds over the past few years, I can only say that I want this technology to become reality. I really hate wires. I need to read more about its (potential) security threats though.....
HourBeforeDawn 15th December 2007, 09:16 Quote
well I certainly like the idea and hey being able to watch TV on the go without needing some kind of card is a plus. ^_^

Now I heard clear wire is going to work with the wimax chip so thats awesome, still a new company but they are well established in Cali so far and spreading eastward, living in Cali, it could come in handy.
Cupboard 16th December 2007, 20:43 Quote
Now is pretty good - 1meg broadband for £18, and its meant to be used as the main internet service, unlike 3G, which AFAIK is mainly as a roaming thing. I see 3G and WiMAX as 2 rather different markets - the former being for people on the move, and the latter being as a replacement for expensive cabling to homes.
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