The billion mark for the installed base of handsets has already been
breached; PC, the other convergence device, is racing towards that mark too. It is estimated that about 76,000 wireless networking cards are being added
per day, adding to the 43 million installed based for the cards.
The installed base for wireless access points is ramping up rapidly to about
12.7 million points in less than three-four years.
By 2010, there will be over 1.5 billion broadband-connected PCs and more than
2.5 billion wireless handheld devices capable of providing communications
functions, combined with the processing power of today’s advanced PCs.
These numbers convey messages about an irreversible trend happening–convergence
and wireless. And this was the single theme continuously broadcasted across the
various presentations at the Intel Development Forum held in San Jose in
September 2003. While convergence has been happening for some time, Intel’s
enthusiasm for making wireless communication ubiquitous is becoming very
infectious. A majority of the consumer-based products are wireless enabled and
this is just the beginning. So senior vice-president and chief technology
officer at Intel, Pat Gelsinger outlined Intel’s ‘Radio Free Intel’
approach for integrating radios into future processors and for developing
adaptive radio platforms, making wireless communication ubiquitous. Eric Mentzer,
Intel vice-president and CTO of the Intel Communications Group, discussed Intel’s
plans to accelerate the deployment of broadband wireless infrastructure
worldwide. "It is expected that networks based on the 802.16a standard will
have a range up to 30 miles and the ability to transfer data, voice and video at
speeds of up to 70 Mbps," Mentzer said.
Intel has signed agreements with leading OEMs in broadband wireless access
equipment to deliver low-cost WiMAX-certified equipment based on Intel 802.16a
silicon in the second half of 2004.
CEO Paul Otellini also did not fail to point out Intel’s wireless efforts
and mentioned that Intel was working on WLAN for 802.11, WMAN or Wi-Max for
802.16 and WWAN for GSM/GPRS and later extending the same to WCDMA. Otellini
mentioned that it was not a battle for standards as these standards will
co-exist with the existing ones and the opportunities lay in trying to make
devices that can sniff out the spectrum and adapt accordingly.
Devices for the wireless world is the next big thing for IT hardware and
consumer electronics companies alike and Intel is moving in fast to ensure that
it will continue to have monopoly in this segment as well.
Yograj Varma in San Jose The author was
hosted by Intel Corporation
A Peep into the Wireless Vision
A Peep into the Wireless Vision
display of its experimental Personal Servers (PS), Intel is betting on a
product which is a compromise between the PDA and laptops, the current
mobile devices. Researchers at Intel believe that the middle path could be
to move data around rather the entire system. The PS comes without any
traditional IO capabilities like keyboards or display. So individuals can
carry gigabytes of data in a card-sized device and can connect data,
thanks to the inbuilt wireless features and the use of external
infrastructure like displays, TVs, printers, etc. Given the increasing
popularity of the wireless standard-based devices like Bluetooth and 802,
these continue to sell in large numbers. For example, Bluetooth-based
devices sold about 33 million units in 2002, up by 250%. Also 802
standard-based devices sold about 13 million units.
Intel is betting that the popularity will
drive third-party companies like TV or display manufacturers to ship their
products with the ability to connect to wireless devices. Such
infrastructure is the key to successful deployment of the personal
servers. Intel is not betting on when it will be able to commoditize this
product as this will depend on the development of the external
infrastructure. Until then, the key market for the personal server will be
individuals shifting data to and fro between the office and the home, like
the current Pen drives.