Intel plans for mobile wireless future

IDF: In a wide-ranging interview, an Intel executive lays out the company's vision for getting laptops online anywhere - not to mention extending battery life

The WiMax 802.16e specification has the potential to give laptops broadband Internet access anywhere on the planet, according to Anand Chandrasekher, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. The standard has more potential than GPRS and 3G because it is the same in every country, he said.

At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this week, Chandrasekher spoke to ZDNet UK about the future of notebook design, broadband wireless access and laptop security. (Read the full interview here.)

Last month, Intel launched its delayed module, which integrates the Centrino laptop chipset with 802.11b and 802.11g wireless LANs, and is now moving on to simplifying WLAN authentication and to more advanced types of wireless access, Chandrasekher said.

The next generation of Centrino, code-named Sonoma, will integrate a standard called Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP-SIM), which will allow unified billing for Wi-Fi and GPRS access, as well as automatic handover across compliant networks.

However, Centrino chips won't be including GPRS or 3G in the near future, Chandrasekher said: "The solutions are so disparate across the globe... We stay focused on industry standards that can have a global basis."

WiMax, on the other hand, holds out the promise of mobile wireless broadband access in any country, he said. The standard is being eyed as an alternative to fibre-optic Internet connections to homes and businesses, but mobile devices can also use WiMax via its mobility specification, 802.16e. Chandrasekher said 802.16e could appear in notebooks in 2006.

He also spoke of Intel's efforts to increase battery life, security and other issues.