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Intel cans Grantsdale WLAN plan

Bows to OEM pressure to drop delayed soft AP feature

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Intel has formally dropped Wi-Fi support from its 'Grantsdale' chipset family and from its 'Alderwood' chipset.

The chip giant will now not ship the promised add-in module which would allow PCs based on its i915 and i925 families of chipsets to operate as WLAN access points, primarily to enable the sharing of broadband internet connections.

'Intel Wireless Connect' (IWC) was a key component of Grantsdale and Alderwood flagged both before the chipset began shipping, in June. However, just ahead of that debut, Intel admitted that it would be playing down WLAN support, thanks to a shortage of the daughtercards that would equip PCs with a wireless adaptor.

At the time, Intel said daughtercard production would ramp through Q3 and Q4, but late last week the company told ExtremeTech that the part will not ship at all.

Company spokesman Dan Snyder characterised the move as a business decision: quite simply, there are now too many cheap access points on the market that building the facility into a PC offers no commercial benefit. Actually, for PC vendors, it's probably a disincentive, since they'd have to build into antennae too. Indeed, it appears to be OEMs who told Intel they didn't want IWC added.

Intel will now stop selling Grantsdale and Alderwood South Bridge chips with a 'W' suffix, which reveals support for the Wi-Fi daughtercard add-in slot. Of course, said parts can still be used as regular i915 and i925 South Bridges. ®

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