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A report over a Taiwan-based web-site claims that Intel Corp. is about to add five large Taiwanese makers of network equipment into the list of its partners that can access to the semiconductor giant’s WiMAX chipsets. This may spur competition on the market of consumer’s equipment and enable cheaper devices eventually.

Currently, only GemTek Technology, among Taiwan-based network equipment manufacturers, can get Intel WiMAX chipset PRO/Wireless 5116 that is used for CPE (customer premise equipment) products. According to DigiTimes web-site, Intel mulls over revamping its policy by the end this quarter and include Foxconn Electronics, ASUSTeK Computer, CyberTAN Technology, Accton Technology and Alpha Networks into the list of its WiMAX partners.

The wireless component PRO/Wireless 5116, 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”.

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