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Intel plans WiMAX cameras by 2009

18 мая 2007
Intel says we can expect to see WiMAX built into devices such as digital cameras and handheld games consoles as soon as 2009.

At a London briefing, the company outlined its roadmap for the long-range wireless technology, which it claims will complement existing Wi-Fi and 3G services. Whereas Wi-Fi offers a maximum range of only a few hundred metres, WiMAX can be beamed from base stations several miles away, potentially reaching areas that are outside of 3G coverage.

WiMAX cards that fit into a laptop's PC Card slot are already available from manufacturers such as Samsung, and Intel claims we will see WiMAX 'integrated into laptops in the next generation [of Centrino chips], which is next year,' according to Chris Beardsmore, Intel's WiMAX Development Manager.

'Beyond 2008, we're looking at integration into consumer electronics devices, like games consoles, digital cameras and music players,' Beardsmore adds. He claims that the underlying technology of WiMAX is so similar to Wi-Fi and Ultrawideband that 'you could potentially do all three from one piece of silicon.'

Intel admits that those ambitious plans hinge on the widespread deployment of WiMAX by network providers. 'You have to have the networks before that [device integration] happens,' he says. 'We did the same with Wi-Fi.'

Although WiMAX offers a much greater range than Wi-Fi, Beardsmore admits that it's vastly more problematic in urban areas. A WiMAX base station would have a range of around 1km in the centre of London, compared to roughly 10km in rural parts of Warwickshire, where Intel is about to embark on a pilot scheme with the local council.

The expense of erecting WiMAX masts could also prove prohibitive for companies other than the mobile networks, who could probably add the masts to their existing sites without extra planning permission. 'It's a huge barrier to entry for newcomers,' admits Beardsmore. 'But a lot of base station sites are rented, so it's not impossible.'

By Barry Collins, PC PRO

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