WiFi Everywhere

IsnÌt this amusing! Despite spending almost $250 million on promoting itself as the wireless company, Intel still does not have the technological leadership in the WiFi space. Its Centrino is nothing but a re-packaged wireless solution, and all it can do is 802.11b. Others are busy making money off the 802.11a and 802.11g-based products. Atheros and BroadCom come to mind.

And now comes the news, that Broadcom has developed tiny foot-print, low-power WiFi chips which can be easily fitted into any digital device – from MP3 players to PDAs to cell-phones. The biggest advantage is the puny power consumption. In a chat, Jeff Abramowitz, Senior Director of Broadcom’s WLAN Marketing, Home and Wireless Networking Business Unit told me that, ÏWith OneChip the power saving is 100-to-1 and in terms of size it is going to be fairly dramatic.Ó

ÏThis is the biggest introduction since we introduced the 802.11 G chip,Ó said Abramowitz, and ÏOur vision is that WiFi will be embedded in most wireless devices — the component size is small and needs less power and we are making it easier to work in tandem with Bluetooth.Ó The company plans to launch the 802.11a and 802.11g versions of this tiny chip.

C/Net News.com is reporting that Philips Semiconductor has also developed a low-power solution. However, unlike BroadCom it is not a single chip solution.

bq. Philips’ chip is not a single product, but it is smaller and will consume less power than previous 802.11b chips. The company is expected to introduce a smaller 802.11b chip in the first quarter of next year, according to those familiar with the company’s plans.

“Intel is a selling a mixed of chips in Centrino,” says Abramowitz. Baseband chips come from Texas Instruments, Radio-chips from Philips and MAC is from Symbol Technologies. “Intel does not make its own chips, but when they start making their own chips, they need to combine their own chips and so from a technology standpoint, Intel is well behind us by a year,” boasts Abramowitz.