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Intel to integrate Wi-Fi into next P4 chipset

Grantsdale to offer software access point

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Intel will integrate Wi-Fi base-station technology into its upcoming 'Grantsdale' desktop PC chipset, the chip giant has revealed.

Don't expect WLAN hardware to be included with the chipset. Intel's plan instead centres on bundling software that replicates the functionality of an access point when you have a internal PCI or external USB Wi-Fi adaptor connected to the system.

According to Intel President Paul Otellini, speaking at the company's autumn analysts meeting a week or so back, Grantsdale is due to ship in Q2 2004. By the end of the year, Intel expects over half of all new consumer-oriented desktops to be based on Grantsdale chipsets.

The move will position Intel as a major access point supplier, competing with network hardware companies who offer standalone base-stations, both wireless hubs and broadband Internet connection sharing devices. Dedicated hardware doesn't require processor cycles, so presumably Intel will pitch Grantsdale's Wi-Fi functionality as 'proof' of its 'Prescott' CPU's raw horsepower - the processor has cycles to spare. It will undoubtedly tout the software access point's low cost compared to hardware base-stations. ®

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