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Intel readies Centrino Wi-Fi update

802.11a support coming Thursday?

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Intel is set to launch its anticipated tri-mode Wi-Fi adaptor this week at an announcement the chip giant says will "introduce its latest wireless technology for Intel Centrino notebooks".

With 802.11b and 802.11b/g ProWireless cards already on offer for Centrino systems, adding support for the enterprise-friendly 802.11a flavour of Wi-Fi is the obvious next move for Intel.

Intel is also known to be working on an add-in that combines Wi-Fi and 3G mobile phone network connectivity, but it is not expected to unveil this product until later this Autumn.

If Intel does announce an 802.11a part on Thursday, the day of the announcement, it will almost certainly pitch the part at corporates, who have been the only significant supporters of the technology.

801.11a offers 802.11g-level data throughput - up to 54Mbps - but operates in the 5GHz band, a less noisy segment of the spectrum than 802.11b and 802.11g's 2.4GHz band. As such, a is inherently incompatible with b and g, which has hindered its uptake.

Intel is also expected to begin shipping Wi-Fi adaptors for its i915 'Grantsdale' series of chipsets later this year, after failing to ship the part when the chipsets themselves were made available in June this year. ®

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