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27 Firms to Collaborate on Wi-Fi Standard

October 11, 2005|From Reuters

A group of 27 technology companies, including California-based chip makers Intel Corp. and Broadcom Corp., said Monday that they would collaborate on a faster Wi-Fi wireless Internet connection standard for computers and other portable devices.

The alliance, dubbed the Enhanced Wireless Consortium, puts together previously separated camps that were heading toward differing standards for networking using wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi.

The group includes some of the biggest wireless chip makers, such as Intel of Santa Clara and Broadcom of Irvine, as well as Cisco Systems Inc., the San Jose-based network equipment maker. Portable computer makers Lenovo International, Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are other members.

"It is possible to have the standard ratification done by late 2006, if we can accelerate. It's reasonable to expect products out before then, in the first half of 2006," said Bill Bunch, director of product management at Broadcom.

The new standard, known as the n-standard, is billed as being two to 10 times faster than current Wi-Fi technologies and will enable high-quality wireless video transmission in office and home networks.

The standard is designed to have superior reach, with twice the range.

"We can really get to the last nook and cranny of the house," said James Chen, a senior product marketing manager at chip maker Marvell Technology Group Ltd. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

The n-standard promises to make Wi-Fi a means of wirelessly connecting consumer electronics products such as video recorders and television sets. The standard will be compatible with current Wi-Fi standards, which means old and new devices will be able to connect.

The standard boosts performance by using multiple antennas and more efficient use of the radio spectrum because it requires less information to make sure data are correctly communicated between devices.

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