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Intel disclosed plans to integrate WLAN capabilities into its next-generation desktop chipset code-named Grantsdale. Earlier the company did not disclose plans to add support for Wi-Fi into its next year’s mainstream core-logic. The move may bring a lot of benefits for customers, but may leave manufacturers of low-cost WLAN equipment without clients.

According to a report from Reuters, Intel’s President Paul Otellini confirmed the information about integrated Access Point capabilities available in Intel Grantsdale during his meeting with analysts in November. The official did not disclose any technical details, but it transpired that the chipset will not include an actual Wi-Fi radio, so users will still need a wireless add-on card. There is no information about the actual cost of such integrated Wi-Fi technology, though, it is pretty clear that it will be considerably cheaper compared to conventional Wireless LAN solutions.

Intel Grantsdale-P chipset is expected to sport 533 and 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus for LGA775 processors, dual-channel DDR-II memory at up to 533MHz, PCI Express x16 port for graphics cards (PEG x16), 4 Serial ATA-150 ports, 4 PCI Express x1 ports and Azalia audio. Intel’s Grantsdale-G chipset will also provide Intel Extreme Graphics 3 core with support for 2 displays. Additionally, Intel plans to provide Grantsdale-GV and Grantsdale-GL products for cost-effective PCs as well as Alderwood core-logic for high-end desktop computers.

There is no information whether Alderwood or low-cost versions of Grantsdale sport the WLAN capabilities or not.

In early 2003 during the quarterly conference call NVIDIA’s CFO Marvin Burkett said the company was going to integrate wireless Ethernet (WLAN) controller in the upcoming Media and Communication Processors by the end of the year, though, the company has not announced any MCPs with integrated WLAN capabilities.

Competing chipset makers, such as VIA Technologies or Silicon Integrated Systems, have never disclosed plans to integrate Wi-Fi into their core-logic products. However, given that historically they have always followed Intel’s moves, we may expect them to offer solutions of the same kind eventually.

Integrated Wireless LAN will undoubtedly simplify the process and reduce the cost of setting up Wi-Fi networks. Furthermore, wide availability of WLANs may boost sales of Intel Centrino-based notebooks that also have integrated WLAN features.

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