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Intel Corp. on Monday plans to unveil its first chip to power WiMAX equipment for homes or offices. With the release of the processor code-named Rosedale Intel aims to drive the costs of WiMAX equipment towards $200, which will make long-distance, high-speed wireless Internet access more affordable.

The wireless component, which was previously code-named “Rosedale”, is the first “system-on-a-chip” design for cost-effective customer premise equipment (CPE) that supports IEEE 802.16-2004 (previously known as IEEE 802.16REVd). CPEs are placed at a home or business to transmit and receive a wireless broadband signal providing Internet connectivity.

Rosedale includes the 802.16-2004 MAC and OFDM PHY, an integrated 10/100 MAC, inline security processing and a TDM controller interface which enables applications such as broadband Internet streaming data and voice. Integration of these features reduces the size of the electronics since there are fewer chips required, and speeds validation and testing of the device, allowing system designers to develop CPEs more quickly and easily.

Rosedale will cost $45 in 1000-unit quantities and Intel believes this will allow makers of home WiMAX equipment to reduce the cost of the consumer WiMAX hardware to $200 from the current level of $500. The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker indicated that 12 hardware companies had already adopted the chip.

Various versions of WiMAX allow devices to connect to a network at speeds of up to 70Mb/s in the range of 31 miles around the “access point”. 3G is next-generation implementation of cellular phone technology, such as GSM, that allows to connect to the Internet at the speeds of up to 2Mb/s (depending on the situation and network settings).

The first mass breed of commercial WiMAX networks is expected to come online sometime in 2006, even though there are a number of deployments even now. Also in 2006 or 2007 Intel is expected to enable Intel Centrino-branded notebooks with WiMAX and/or 3G connectivity.

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