The Future Is Faster; Wireless Is Everywhere
Today s laptops based on Intel Centrino technology offer a better mobile computing experience than ever before. But wireless networking innovation is not over. On the contrary, we are just getting started. Exciting new technologies are on the horizon that will offer even faster networking over longer distances. Here is a brief glimpse into what is coming to mobile computers near you:
802.11n is an evolutionary step from current Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/a technologies. 802.11n increases the speed of a local wireless network, enabling applications such as high-quality streaming multimedia. Although still in the final phases of becoming a standard at the time of this writing, Intel made public in June 2005 that it has produced a prototype chip combining 802.11n, b, g, and a standards in a single device. It stands to reason that the Centrino platform could incorporate this new chip in the future.
WiMAX is a new wireless technology (based on the IEEE 802.16 standard) that seeks to solve the "last mile" problem of bringing high-speed Internet service into homes and offices that are spread over a geographic area that is too great for economical installation of a wired network. WiMAX technology will operate at speeds up to 70Mbps over distances up to 30 miles. Intel introduced its first WiMAX product in April 2005 in the form of a chip aimed at manufacturers of base-station networking equipment. The Intel product roadmap indicates WiMAX technology could be incorporated into Centrino chipsets in 2006.
WiMAX has the potential for making seamless wireless access a reality. Its range means that you are much more likely to have a wireless access point available.
Intel is working with the wireless industry to spearhead the deployment of WiMAX. According to an Intel spokesman,
Wi-Fi and WiMAX might prove to be more complementary technologies than competing technologies, with WiMAX supplying "last mile" capabilities to homes and offices and Wi-Fi provided connectivity inside your premises. However the two technologies are ultimately deployed, Wi-Fi is right here, right now. It makes no sense to wait for WiMAX when you can get started with Wi-Fi today.
3G CDMA Cellular Wireless Data
3G CDMA cellular wireless data services are not part of the family of Wi-Fi 802.11 technologies, and they are not part of the Centrino platform today, so these data services won t be discussed anywhere else in this book. They are mentioned here because they offer broadband-class Internet networking speeds right now in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Cellular providers such as Sprint and Verizon sell both the hardware (a card that plugs into a laptop) and the service to allow high-speed Internet access in most places you can use a cellular telephone. The hardware and service is expensive, but if there is a strong business need and you don t have the time to look for a wireless hotspot at Starbucks, 3G data services might be worth looking into.