Intel is advancing its position in broadband wireless technology with a new development deal in China.
The chipmaking giant is teaming up with ZTE Corporation to develop and promote standards and specifications for 802.16-based networks -- commonly referred to as WiMAX -- for use around the globe.
Intel and ZTE, through its ZiMAX Technologies subsidiary, have been working together for more than 18 months on the project. Now, the companies said they will work jointly with regional regulatory agencies to secure enough radio spectrum to make the services exciting enough for mainstream adoption.
WiMAX supports very high bit rates in uploading and downloading from a base station up to a distance of 30 miles and is capable of supporting VoIP , high-speed Internet connectivity and other IP services.
After some fits and starts in China, Intel managed to smooth out its WiMAX development in the country starting with a contract with municipal governments in Dalian and Chengdu in June 2004.
For its part of the agreement, ZTE will develop and help roll out back-end infrastructure and consumer equipment using Intel's silicon for WiMAX, code-named Rosedale. The technology is based on IEEE 802.16-2004 (previously known as IEEE 802.16REVd), and the upcoming IEEE 802.16e standards for mobile networks.
ZTE said it plans to begin initial setup of the 802.16-2004 networks later this year. China, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia represent the first batch of carriers to test the systems. ZTE said it plans to conduct field trials of 802.16e networks beginning in mid-2006.
Intel has said Rosedale should hit the mainstream desktop market in 2005, with notebooks and handsets getting their turn in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
The system-on-chip technology will include the 802.16-2004 Media Access Controller (MAC) and OFDM physical layer, an integrated 10/100 MAC, inline security processing and a Time Division Multiplexing controller interface.
The ZTE announcement marks the second partnership Intel has forged this week around the wireless standard. The company announced a pact with Telkom, South Africa's largest broadband provider, hoping to provide a last-mile broadband alternative.