Intel to add Wi-Fi to Pentium 4 chipsets - again

Dropped from Granstdale, WLAN module now aimed at Lakeport

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Intel will integrate Wi-Fi into its next generation of desktop chipsets, the chip maker has revealed, two months after admitting it will not ship promised WLAN adaptors for its 'Grantsdale' and 'Alderwood' Pentium 4 chipsets.

Speaking in Taipei this week, Intel chipset marketing chief Sunil Kumar said Wi-Fi support will return in new desktop chipsets due H2 2005.

That's almost certainly a reference to 'Lakeport' and 'Glenwood', the follow-ups to the i915 and i925 chipset families. Originally due to be introduced during Q2 2005, it appears Lakeport and Glenwood have been put back to coincide with the release of 'Smithfield', the dual-core 90nm P4 derived from the current 'Prescott' chip.

The next-gen chipsets are expected to bring to mainstream P4 family the 1066MHz frontside bus Intel introduced this week. The faster FSB is currently only supported by a 3.46GHz P4 Extreme Edition chip. The chipsets are also believed to support 667MHz DDR 2 SDRAM.

Intel's chipset roadmaps note that Lakeport and Glenwood will incorporate 'Caswell 2', an add-in Wi-Fi module. The chip giant had planned to offer such a part with certain i915 and i925 chipsets, touting its ability to let the desktop PC act as a Wi-Fi access point. In the end, the module was first delayed then dropped altogether, standalone access points and broadband gateway prices having fallen so far as to make the PC add-in unattractive.

Whether Caswell 2 will be pitched as an access point or simply as a desktop WLAN client isn't clear at this stage. Intel is expected to promote Smithfield and Lakeport/Glenwood as a digital home platform, and wireless is likely to play a key role when it comes to touting the PC's entertainment credentials. ®

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