Intel presented its WiMAX roadmap today, disclosing that it has sampled the first Rosedale silicon to customers. This wireless alternative to cable and DSL wired broadband technologies was launched six months ago by Intel. The company believes to be able to add it to handsets in 2007.
The technology is governed by the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard; to date, Intel's silicon has been challenged by Fujitsu Ltd., but otherwise there have been few challengers.
In some sense, deploying WiMAX quickly has been seen as the equivalent of Microsoft's realization that the Internet was a viable market; once the firms undertook a head of steam, they barreled into the market quickly. Intel, for example, was months late to market with its deployment of WiFi chips.
Rosedale is being circulated to customers, who have begun building an infrastructure around it, according to Scott Richardson, general manager of the broadband wireless division in Intel's Wireless Networking Group. In 2006, the technology will be built into Intel's notebook chipsets; in 2007, Intel's handheld chipsets for smartphones will gain WiMAX capabilities, he said.
WiMAX will at first use the same 5GHz spectrum band within the U.S. that the 802.11a WiFi standard uses.
In response to a question about possible interference, Richardson said that the 5-GHz spectrum within the U.S. includes a 0.5-GHz swath that will hopefully include enough bandwidth to prevent interference.
Intel's Rosedale chipset includes a 802.16-2004 compliant MAC, an OFDM PHY, an integrated 10/100 Ethernet core, an inline security block and a controller interface. Richardson said the security core would include both AES and DES encryption capabilities that are required by the WiMAX spec. Initially, the security block will not be used for content protection, although it could be in the future, he said.
The Rosedale chipset does not include the radio, but Intel has plans to develop the radio part of the chipset later.