Intel joins with Proxim to develop wireless networking

PC chip giant Intel Corp. announced on Wednesday a technology agreement with wireless local area network supplier Proxim Inc. -- boosting Intel's development of wireless home networking products in exchange for an equity investment.

"Intel's technology relationship with Proxim is an important part of our home networking strategy and helps further our vision of a billion connected PCs in the next decade," said Dan Sweeney, general manager of Intel's home networking operation, in a statement. No definite product plans were announced. The 2.9 percent investment in Proxim is worth almost $10.4m (£6.3m).

The two companies are currently working together within the Home RF alliance to develop wireless home networking products based on the SWAP, or shared wireless access protocol, specification. "(The deal) is not totally surprising considering the two companies have been working closely on SWAP technology," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with chip and network researcher Insite 64.

Intel has already announced its AnyPoint family of home networking products that connect computers together in a home using standard phone jacks. The phone line networking solution had the lowest cost -- about $100 per PC -- compared to other technologies, including wireless and networking over power lines.

The wireless network will be the next most popular kind of home network, according to Brookwood. Intel's and Proxim's work could make it cheaper as well. "Right now, if you look at Proxim's products, they are running at $150 per (PC)," said Brookwood. "With SWAP, they can bring that down to $100 per (PC)."

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